Social Reaction Theory or commenly known as the labeling theory is a theory based on the idea of the social makeup of reality. The labeling theory states that the processes of labeling or treating someone as a delinquent may actually foster delinquent behavior. In my opinion most of the time labeling seems to be power based meaning that the more powerful dominant people in society create and apply stigmatized labels to the people that they believe are less than. “An important principal of social reaction theory is that the law is differentially applied befitting those who hold economic and social power and penalizing the power less”(Siegel & Welsh, 2015, pg. 179).
I think this is the basis of a lot of the stigma that we face today is a way to keep control of the psyche of the population. When a person acquires a label that has criminal connotations there is not much they can do to remove it. An individual can be a doctor with a successful practice and volunteer four days a week at their local church but if they acquire the label of sex offender, extortionist, and arsonist etc. all of their “good” qualities are pretty much irrelevant an non-existent to society. People tend to define their identity by how they are viewed by others for example adolesants take the opinions of their peers very seriously and at times shape their behavior to please those around them. According to the text whn parents stand by their children and show poitive encouragement children are not effected as much by the labels placed on them by others. However, parents who negatively label their children can be mentally damaging for the child.
“Children negatively labeled by their parents routinely suffer a variety of problems including antisocial behavior and school failure.” ( Seigal & Welsh, 2015, pg.179). Its a parents job to protect their child and that protection starts by strngthining their mental state at home.Social Reaction Theroy brings into focus to ones persoinal identity and since labels can be so misguiding it can force someoe to get into the deviant behavior that society, peers, and family depits.
It becomes a feed back loop the more someone is labeled the more the begin to act on those labels.