How Does Gender Identity Affect the Relationship Between Strain and Negative Emotions?


General strain theory suggests that negative emotions are the key mediating variable between strain and crime. Researchers have found that the relationship between strain and emotions sometimes differ by sex. We argue that gender identity, or how masculine or feminine individuals view themselves, offer an additional explanation of emotional reactions to strain rather than focusing on sex differences alone. Using a subsample of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Add Health), we examine the direct effects of gender identity on negative emotions and the conditioning effects of masculinity and femininity on the relationship between strain and negative emotions. Our results indicate that gender identity is important for explaining the effect of strain on anger for males and females. Gender identity plays less of a role in explaining depression, however. These findings support the inclusion of gender identity when explaining gender differences in a general strain theory context.

Publication Title

Sociological Spectrum