Exploring the relationship between social and non-social reinforcement in the context of social learning theory

Timothy Brezina, Alex R. Piquero

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter examines the role of nonsocial reinforcement as stated in Ronald L. Akers' social learning theory of crime and deviance. It also examines the ability of the theory–as formulated–to account for individual differences in the propensity to derive intrinsic rewards from delinquency and drug use. The chapter finds that the processes of "nonsocial" reinforcement are not as independent or distinct from traditional social learning processes as some theorists have claimed or implied. It conducts a theoretically informed examination of the relationship between social and "nonsocial" reinforcement and articulate an initial statement. The chapter derives several hypotheses which the authors test with exploratory data from a large sample of adolescents. It focuses on adolescent drug and alcohol use. The chapter relates arguments to more general forms of criminal/delinquent involvement and shows how these arguments can facilitate future research. It argues that processes of social learning can help to explain individual differences.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSocial Learning Theory and the Explanation of Crime
EditorsFreda Adler, William S. Laufer
Place of PublicationBrunswick NJ USA
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781315129594
ISBN (Print)1412806496, 9781138532809
Publication statusPublished - 28 Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes

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