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Sociology and Criminology & Law

Ronald Akers

Emeritus Professor, Criminology and Law


  • B.S., cum laude, Secondary Education (Social Studies), Indiana State University, 1960
  • M.A., Department of Sociology, Kent State University, 1961
  • Ph.D., Department of Sociology, University of Kentucky, 1966.

 Areas of Interest

  • Social Learning in Crime and Deviance
  • Criminological Theory
  • Drug and Alcohol Behavior
  • Delinquency
  • Sociology of Law
  • Deviant Behavior


My current research interests are focused on further specification and testing of the Social Structure Social Learning (SSSL) model (Akers, Social Learning and Social Structure, Northeastern University Press, 1998). This model proposes that the effects of social structural factors and variables on individuals’ criminal, delinquent, and deviant behavior are mediated primarily by variables in the social learning process (mainly differential association, differential reinforcement, definitions, and imitation). I and my doctoral students have re-analyzed data from the Boystown study of adolescent substance use and from the Iowa teenage smoking study, have collected original data, and have recently published journal articles and chapters on this model. (Updated: November 16, 2003)


Selected Publications:

  • Criminological Theories: Introduction, Evaluation, and Application. Fourth Edition. Los Angeles: Roxbury Publishing, 2004 (Ronald L. Akers and Christine Sellers)
  • Social Learning and Social Structure: A General Theory of Crime and Deviance. Boston: Northeastern University Press, 1998.
  • Social Learning Theory and the Explanation of Crime: A Guide for the New Century, Vol 11 Advances in Criminological Theory. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books, 2003 (Edited, Ronald L. Akers and Gary F. Jensen).
  • “Social Learning and Structural Factors in Adolescent Substance Use,” Western Criminology Review 5(1)[on-line] EXTERNAL_LINK/ (Gang Lee, Ronald L. Akers, and Marian Borg), 2004.
  • “Sociological Theory and Practice: The Case of Criminology,” Journal of Applied Sociology/Sociological Practice: A Journal of Applied and Clinical Sociology 22/7:24-41, 2005
  • “Parental and Peer Influences on Adolescent Drug Use in Korea,” Asian Journal of Criminology 1:51-69 [also online] EXTERNAL_LINK/ (Sunghuyn Hwang and Ronald L. Akers), 2006.

Courses Taught:

Phone: (352) 294-7165

Room: 3359

Office Hours:

  • by Appointment