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

  • Google+ icon
  • LinkedIn icon
  • 1045 views

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...

About the author

is an online A Level Psychology tutor with MyTutor studying at Exeter University

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

95% of our customers rate us

Browse tutors

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

mtw:mercury1:status:ok