Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

Lisa M Dilks

Committee Co-Chair

Jason Manning

Committee Member

Chris Scheitle


Agnew's General Strain Theory proposes that strain leads to negative emotions, which in turn lead to crime and delinquency. However, there has been a lack of research on what happens when the negative emotions that result from externally experienced strains lead to responses other than crime. The psychology literature on "feeling bad, doing good" indicates that internally experienced negative emotions can lead to helping behaviors. The purpose of this research is to examine if externally generated negative emotions can also lead to helping or prosocial behaviors. Particular attention is given to the type of negative emotion that is experienced -- anger/frustration vs. depression/anxiety - when an individual is exposed to strainful situations. It is proposed that individuals might participate in prosocial behaviors when exposed to strain if they experience depression or anxiety rather than anger or frustration.