Social Strain Theory

The social strain is a state of potential participants in social conflicts, expressed in emotions, moods, attitudes, judgments, and behavior that characterize anxiety, uncertainty, fear, aggression, mistrust, cruelty, etc. It characterizes the state of mind, consciousness, and behavior of social subjects.

The social strain is a massive adaptation syndrome, which reflects the degree phychological adaptation of various categories of the population to chronic frustration or difficulties (lower living standards and social changes). Social strains manifest themselves in a sharp increase in discontent, distrust of the authorities, conflict in society, anxiety, economic and mental depression, rush demand, worsening of the demographic situation, compensatory reactions (aggression, searching for enemies, and hope for a miracle), stressor of relations. These phenomena are determined by the state of the economy, the efficiency of power, the influence of the media, the opposition and criminal structures. This definition of social strain is integral and allows to schematically represent the mechanisms and to structure this phenomenon.


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The Purpose of Social Strain

The general cause of social strain is the crisis in the economy, government, and society. At the same time, social strains have external and internal contours. The external measure is associated with the influence of external conditions, such as the state of the world economy, ecology, international security; the internal one is connected with the situation that has developed in the sphere of the national economy, government, and society.

It is also necessary to distinguish between the background causes of social strains and local causes of its focuses. Background causes are formed due to typical conditions prevailing on the scale of the country or any of its regions. Local situations are point conditions create focuses at a production facility, in a residential area, in a house, for example, when the heating system is turned off, etc. The causes of social strain are hierarchical, subordinate, i.e., they obey the law of cause and effect.

The Impact of Life Quality on Society

One of the most significant factors determining social strains is the quality of the standard of living, the ratio between the prices of food, consumer goods, and services, on the one hand, and the size of wages and incomes of the population, on the other.

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One of the powerful factors causing discontent of the population is the state of ecology. However, in the period of social strain, this problem recedes into the background, although, in essence, it does not lose its relevance. Strain, having arisen at one of the enterprises, easily spreads to the entire industry.

In this regard, it must be born in mind that the centers of social strain are dynamic. They arise and disappear. The duration of focuses of social strain depends on the reasons that gave rise to them, on the spontaneous or deliberate nature of the occurrence, on the position and effectiveness of the authorities, and other circumstances.

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