Anomic strain and external constraints: A reassessment of Merton's anomie/strain theory using data from Ukraine

Olena P Antonaccio, William R. Smith, Feodor A. Gostjev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Scopus citations


This study provides a new assessment of Merton's anomie/strain theory and fills in several gaps in the literature. First, using the data from the sample of adolescents in an especially suitable and interesting setting, post-Soviet Ukraine, it investigates the applicability of the theory to this context and reveals that predictive powers of anomic strain may be influenced by larger sociocultural environments. Second, it evaluates the possibility of theoretical elaboration of Merton's theory through identifying contingencies such as external constraints on behavior and finds limited support for moderating effects of perceptions of risks of sanctioning and social bonds on anomic strain-delinquency relationships. Finally, it confirms that additional clarifications of the concept of anomic strain may be promising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1079-1103
Number of pages25
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Sep 13 2015



  • anomie/strain theory
  • delinquency
  • Merton
  • Ukraine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Applied Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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