General Strain Theory and Violent Behavior in a Military Sample

Leslie Greenwell1

1University of Louisville, Louisville, USA

The present study examines violent behavior in a military sample through an examination of General Strain Theory (GST). The overall sample (n = 21,449) is made up of active-duty, national guard, and reserve U.S. Army soldiers surveyed from 2011 to 2013 for the All Army Study (AAS) component of the Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Servicemembers (STARRS). The present study is a secondary analysis of the STARRS’ data. Overall, the results of the present study produce empirical support for GST. Binomial logistic regression analyses show that all measures of strain (e.g., deployment, health, and life spheres strain), anger, and coping skills are significant predictors of violent behaviors. Soldiers who are younger, male, and a minority are more likely to report violent behavior than soldiers who are older, female, and White. Self-control, religiosity, work support, and level of education are not significant predictors of violent behavior. The results of the analyses are interpreted and the limitations of the present study, suggestions for future research, and practical implications are then discussed.


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Aug 30 2021


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