Choose a deviant behavior (based on society and not religion…

Choose a deviant behavior (based on society and not religion) and research it online. Discuss this behavior using Strain Theory, Cultural Transmission Theory, or Differential Association Theory. Should the behavior be “fixed?” Why, or why not? Please answer in at least 250 words using this citation: Purchase the answer to view it



Deviant Behavior: Exploring Strain Theory, Cultural Transmission Theory, and Differential Association Theory


Deviant behavior refers to actions that violate social norms and are considered unacceptable by society. These behaviors can range from minor infractions to serious criminal acts. This essay will examine a specific deviant behavior, namely substance abuse, and analyze it through the frameworks of Strain Theory, Cultural Transmission Theory, and Differential Association Theory. We will discuss whether this behavior should be “fixed” or addressed and provide arguments for and against intervention.

Strain Theory

Strain Theory, proposed by sociologist Robert Merton, asserts that deviant behavior results from the strain caused by the disconnect between society’s goals and the means available to achieve them (1). According to this theory, individuals engage in deviant behavior when they are unable to attain the socially approved goals through legitimate means. In the case of substance abuse, individuals may turn to drugs or alcohol as a response to the strain caused by social and economic pressures, lack of opportunities, or limited access to resources. They may use substances as a coping mechanism to alleviate stress or escape from this strain.

Cultural Transmission Theory

Cultural Transmission Theory, derived from the work of Edwin Sutherland, posits that deviant behavior is learned through socialization processes where individuals are exposed to and influenced by others engaging in such behavior (2). From this perspective, the deviant behavior of substance abuse can be seen as a learned behavior passed from one generation to another through familial and social networks. If individuals grow up in an environment where substance abuse is normalized or even encouraged, they are more likely to engage in such behavior themselves. Factors such as family history, peer influence, and exposure to substance use in the community can all contribute to the adoption of this deviant behavior.

Differential Association Theory

Differential Association Theory, proposed by sociologist Edwin Sutherland, builds upon the notion of cultural transmission and emphasizes the influence of close personal relationships on deviant behavior (3). According to this theory, individuals are more likely to engage in deviant behavior if they associate with others who have similar attitudes and values. In the case of substance abuse, individuals may be influenced by peers who use drugs or alcohol, leading to their own participation in this deviant behavior. Additionally, the theory suggests that the frequency, duration, and intensity of these associations play a crucial role in shaping an individual’s behavior.

Should the Behavior be “Fixed”?

The question of whether deviant behavior, such as substance abuse, should be “fixed” is a complex one. On one hand, addressing such behavior is necessary to protect individuals’ health and well-being and maintain social order. Substance abuse can lead to a range of negative consequences, including physical and mental health problems, family dysfunction, and criminal involvement. Intervention through prevention programs, treatment, and recovery resources can therefore be beneficial in reducing the prevalence and impact of this deviant behavior.

On the other hand, it is essential to consider the underlying causes of the behavior and the role of broader social, economic, and cultural factors. Strain Theory, Cultural Transmission Theory, and Differential Association Theory all shed light on the complex web of influences that contribute to deviant behavior. In this regard, addressing the root causes of strain, providing positive socialization and alternative avenues for success, and creating a supportive environment for individuals can help reduce the likelihood of engaging in substance abuse.


Deviant behavior, including substance abuse, can be examined through the lenses of Strain Theory, Cultural Transmission Theory, and Differential Association Theory. These theories offer valuable insights into the factors that drive and perpetuate such behavior. While intervention is necessary to address the negative consequences of deviance, it is equally crucial to understand the underlying causes and provide comprehensive support systems to prevent individuals from engaging in these behaviors. By addressing both individual and societal factors, we can work towards reducing deviant behaviors and fostering a healthier and more sustainable society.

1. Merton, R. K. (1938). Social structure and anomie. American Sociological Review, 3(5), 672-682.
2. Sutherland, E. H. (1939). Principles of criminology. Lippincott.
3. Sutherland, E. H., & Cressey, D. R. (1978). Criminology (9th ed.). Lippincott.

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