Indexed on: 13 Aug '08Published on: 13 Aug '08Published in: Substance use & misuse
Agnew's general strain theory suggests that negative life experiences constitute stress that may lead to deviance, unless effective coping strategies are forthcoming. In the present study, the principles of general strain theory were employed to examine the age-varying effects of three types of victimization on drug-using behavior: sexual victimization, physical victimization, or other victimization. Study data came from seven waves of the National Youth Survey, a longitudinal survey of youth ages 11 to 17 years when the study began in 1976. The broad hypotheses of general strain theory were supported, by the data, with some qualifications. Results of the data analysis also showed that victimization's impact on drug use is type-specific and/or drug-specific. Further studies with more sophisticated measures of drug use should clarify the role of victimization (by type) in various drug-using behaviors. The study's limitations are noted.