Understanding deviant behaviors through coercion and social support theory

Maria Nicte-ha Uribe Tinoco, University of Texas at El Paso


Mark Colvin, Francis T. Cullen and Thomas Vander Ven (2002) developed an integrated theory of crime called “coercion, social support, and crime” which hypothesizes that coercion and social support are inversely related and that these variables have direct effects on criminal and deviant behavior as well as a combined effect. Specifically if an imbalance between coercion and social support exists, crime is more likely to occur because coercion induces weak social bonds and low self control thereby increasing crime. On the other hand, social support prevents criminal involvement through organized networks of human relations that assist people in meeting their expressive (emotional) and instrumental (material) needs. In this research the purpose is to test the “coercion, social support and crime” theory which has not been tested using empirical data collected from 463 university students. Results focusing on the measurement of key concepts from the theory were presented; as well results from statistical analyses in specific bivariate correlations and ordinary least square regressions were used in order to analyze the direct effects of social support and coercion on crime; and the relationship between social support and coercion. The analyses support the hypothesis that coercion and social support are inversely related. Also, additional findings show the predicted positive association between coercion and deviance which supports the hypothesis that the more coercion a student experiences, the more their deviant involvement. However, results do not support the predicted negative association between deviance and social support. Overall, findings show only partial support for this emerging theory. ^

Subject Area

Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

Uribe Tinoco, Maria Nicte-ha, "Understanding deviant behaviors through coercion and social support theory" (2009). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1465277.