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Social Learning and Deviant Behavior: A Specific Test of a General Theory

Ronald L. Akers, Marvin D. Krohn, Lonn Lanza-Kaduce and Marcia Radosevich
American Sociological Review
Vol. 44, No. 4 (Aug., 1979), pp. 636-655
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2094592
Page Count: 20
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Abstract

A social learning theory of deviant behavior is tested with survey data on adolescent drinking and drug behavior. The theory is strongly supported. The major explanatory variables from that theory, differential association, differential reinforcement, definitions, and imitation combine to account for 68% of the variance in marijuana use (39% of abuse) and 55% of the variance in alcohol use (32% of abuse) by adolescents. The study demonstrates that central learning concepts are amenable to questionnaire measurement, and the findings indicate that social learning theory will do well when tested with other forms of deviant behavior.

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