What are the key points of Sutherland's (1939) Theory of Differential Association?

Key points include:

Criminal behaviour... 

1) is learnt. Southerland is behaviourist in this respect.

2) is learnt through social interaction and communication. Bandura (1961) disagrees, as mere observation is sufficent for social influence.

3) is learnt form personal groups, i.e. friends and family.

4) is learnt by adopting the motives, drives, rationalisations, and attitudes from other criminals.

5) is based on learnt conceptions of the law as either “favourable” or “unfavourable”.  Crime is adopted when the ratio of attitudes (“definitions”) towards crime are more pro-criminal than anti-criminal.

6) is influenced by frequency, duration, priority and intensity.

7) is the same as any learning process. Criminal behaviour can be developed and honed. 

8) cannot be a result of general needs and values, as those who are needy do not always turn to crime.

Whitney L. A Level Art tutor, A Level English Literature tutor, A Lev...

5 months ago

Answered by Whitney, an A Level Psychology tutor with MyTutor

Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist


Charlotte T. A Level Psychology tutor, A Level Biology tutor, Mentori...
View profile
£20 /hr

Charlotte T.

Degree: Intercalated Psychology (Bachelors) - Kings, London University

Subjects offered: Psychology, Biology+ 1 more

-Medical School Preparation-

“Hello! I am a fifth year medical student from the University of East Anglia. I am currently undertaking an intercalated BSc in Psychology and would love the oppurtunity to install some of the love I have for these subjects to tutees!  ...”

MyTutor guarantee

Fahad M. A Level Maths tutor, A Level Chemistry tutor, A Level Biolog...
View profile
£30 /hr

Fahad M.

Degree: Medicine And Surgery - MBChB (Bachelors) - Birmingham University

Subjects offered: Psychology, Physics+ 7 more

.BMAT (BioMedical Admissions)
-Personal Statements-
-Medical School Preparation-

“About MeGraduating highschool with many distinctions I went on to become a medical student at the University of Birmingham. Having excelled in my interview (gaining the top rank in Motivation and Experience) I went on immediately to ...”

PremiumEmma M. GCSE Maths tutor, A Level Psychology tutor, A Level Maths tutor
View profile
£24 /hr

Emma M.

Degree: Natural Sciences (Bachelors) - Durham University

Subjects offered: Psychology, Maths


“ I am currently studying Natural Sciences (Maths and Psychology) at Durham University. I have had a passion for Maths and Psychology since the moment I started studying them and am keen toshare my enthusiasm for these subject through ...”

About the author

Whitney L. A Level Art tutor, A Level English Literature tutor, A Lev...
View profile
£20 /hr

Whitney L.

Degree: Psychology (Bachelors) - Exeter University

Subjects offered: Psychology, Spanish+ 2 more

English Literature

“Top tutor from the renowned Russell university group, ready to help you improve your grades.”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Other A Level Psychology questions

What is the difference between interval and ratio data?

What are the clinical characteristics of Schizophrenia?

I revise really hard for A-level Psychology but always get a low grade, despite doing what teachers tell me. What is going wrong?

How to impress an examiner with effective essay writing (A01, A02,A03)

View A Level Psychology tutors


We use cookies to improve our service. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss