ABSTRACT

While emotions are relatively rarely taken up in theoretical and empirical frameworks in criminology (see the Introduction chapter of this volume), the study of anger is not new to crime research. One of criminology’s most infl uential theories is Agnew’s General Strain Theory which argues that adolescents are pressured into delinquency by negative affective states, most notably anger and related emotions, that result from negative relationships with others, i.e. relationships in which an individual is not treated the way he or she wants to be treated (Agnew, 1992 :48-9). This negative affective state creates a pressure for corrective actions that can result in crime. In the present chapter, we also examine the role of anger in crime-related behaviour. However, the perspective that is suggested and tested in this chapter differs from General Strain Theory in two important ways. First, whereas General Strain Theory treats anger as a relatively enduring and stable characteristic of individuals, this chapter examines anger as it operates in the actual moment of decision making. Second, in this chapter we focus on the dishonesty of otherwise normal people and not specifi cally on delinquents as is the case with General Strain Theory.