Social Support and Crime

Matthew D. Makarios and Tara Livelsberger

in The Oxford Handbook of Criminological Theory

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747238
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

 Social Support and Crime

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According to social support theory, people who live in environments that provide more support are less likely to commit a crime. In other words, criminal behavior is discouraged when societies, cities, neighborhoods, friendship networks, and families provide individuals with the necessary tools to live a prosocial lifestyle. The social structure of societies can thus create positive conditions that improve individuals and their lives in ways that reduce the likelihood of engaging in criminal activities. This article discusses social support theory, including its conceptual foundation. It examines Francis T. Cullen's initial statement of the theory, explains how social support is related to crime across the life course, and reviews the current empirical status of social support theory. The article concludes by emphasizing how criminologists and policymakers can use the concept of social support in their efforts to understand criminal behavior.

Keywords: social support theory; crime; criminal behavior; social support; Francis T. Cullen; social structure; prosocial lifestyle

Article.  11304 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Theories of Crime

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