Social Structural Theories
Social structural theories attempt to explain why people commit crimes as related to the social structure of society (Cite). Social structural theories do not simply try to locate individuals above or below one another in the social structure; they try to locate individuals in terms of their relationship to one another within the structure (Cite). Harp and Taietz looked at cheating by students who were fraternity members as related to social structure. They found that a higher incidence of cheating by fraternity members was related to the fraternity system structure, even after controlling for intellectual orientation. They found support for the argument that social structure influences cheating behavior. They also found that students who aspired to attend graduate school cheated significantly less than those who did not (Cite).
Differential Opportunity Theory
Differential opportunity theory proposes that deviant behaviors can be explained by their location in both the legitimate and illegitimate opportunity structures (Cite). In examining cheating by students who were fraternity members, Harp and Taietz (Cite) found that higher incidences of cheating were related to the greater opportunities to cheat that the fraternity system provided its members. Uhlig and Howes (Cite) studied a group of 47 Eastern Kentucky State College undergraduate and graduate students under contrived situations applied under two different levels of stress. They found that in a given situation, regardless of the presence or absence of stress, approximately one-third of a college class would cheat opportunistically if the climate was an advantageous one.