Police Strain, Negative Emotions, Criminal Propensity, and Criminal Coping

  • Stephen W. BaronEmail author


Utilizing a sample of homeless street youths, the paper draws on general strain theory to understand how police contact and perceived police injustice are related to two forms of criminal coping. It also examines if the relationship between the two police strain measures and criminal coping is mediated by anger and depression. Further, it explores if a composite criminal propensity moderator recently theorized in GST influences the relationships between police strains and coping. Findings show both forms of police strain have direct relationships with property crime, while only police contact has a direct relationship with violence. Further, both forms of police strain have an indirect relationship with violence through anger. Finally, criminal propensity moderates the relationship between both forms of police strain and violent offending but not property offending. Suggestions for further research are offered.


Police contact Perceived police injustice General strain theory Composite moderator 



The author would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. Special thanks also to Nic Swagar and Fiona Kay for their assistance and to the reviewers for their valuable contributions. Address all correspondence to Stephen W. Baron, Department of Sociology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3 N6, 613-533-2170, (


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Copyright information

© Southern Criminal Justice Association 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyQueen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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