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Differential Association Theory -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Holland, Donna;

2009 / EBSCO


Differential association theory suggests that individuals who commit deviant acts are influenced to do so by primary groups and intimate social contacts. The degree of influence one receives from messages favoring deviant behavior varies by intensity, priority, frequency, and duration. An overview of differential association theory of deviance is provided beginning with a general review of the theory, followed by brief explanations of specific assumptions of differential association theory. A brief summary of key research developments are provided. Critiques of differential association are highlighted throughout the report and further developments of the theory are reviewed.