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Stacy De Coster


Department of Sociology and Anthropology

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Stacy De Coster is a Professor of Sociology and a member of the Academy of Outstanding Teachers. She received her PhD in sociology at the University of Iowa, where she specialized in criminology and the sociology of mental health. Dr. De Coster’s research synthesizes classical sociological criminology with insights from a wide variety of sub-disciplines in sociology to address core substantive and theoretical issues. Her main streams of research focus on: (1) elaborating theories of crime to understand patterns of offending across gender, race, and intersecting inequalities; (2) broadening criminological theories by considering their application to diverse phenomenon, including mental health and sexual harassment; and (3) elaborating criminological theories to understand the conditions and processes through which communities, families, and peers influence adolescent identities, emotions, well-being, and behaviors. Her research has been published in top criminology journals (CriminologyJournal of Research in Crime and DelinquencyJustice Quarterly, and Theoretical Criminology), sociology journals (Sociological Perspectives, Sociological Quarterly, and Work and Occupations), interdisciplinary journals (Youth & Society and Journal of Youth and Adolescence), and prestigious book volumes and series.


  • Crime, Law, and Social Control Area Coordinator
  • Criminology, Editorial Board
  • Social Currents, Editorial Board

Research Publications

  • De Coster, Stacy and Jennifer Lutz. 2018“Reconsidering Labels and Primary Deviance: False Appraisals, Reflected Appraisals, and Delinquency Onset.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 55: 609–648.
  • De Coster, Stacy, Rena C. Zito, and Jennifer Lutz. 2018. “Racisms and Crime:Racialized Elaborations of General Theories of Offending.” Pp. 209-226 in Handbook on Race, Ethnicity, Crime, and Justice, edited by Ramiro Martinez, Jacob L. Stowell, and Meghan Hollis. New York, NY: Wiley.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Karen Heimer. 2017. “Choice within Constraint: An Explanation of Crime at the Intersections.” Theoretical Criminology 21:11-22.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Maxine S. Thompson. 2017. “Race and General Strain Theory: Microaggressions as Mundane Extreme Environmental Stresses. Justice Quarterly 34:903-930.
  • Zito, Rena C. and Stacy De Coster. 2016. “Family Structure, Maternal Dating, and Sexual Debut: Extending the Conceptualization of Instability” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 45:1003-1019.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Rena C. Zito. 2016. “The Social Landscape of Intractable Offending among African American Males in Marginalized Contexts.” Pp. 113-122 in Preventing Crime and Violence, edited by Brent Teasdale and Mindy Bradley. New York: Springer Publishing.
  • Brauer, Jonathan R. and Stacy De Coster. 2015. “Social Relationships and Delinquency: Rethinking Parent and Peer Influence During Adolescence.” Youth & Society 47:374-94.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Rena C. Zito. 2013. “Maternal Roles and Adolescent Depression: Conditions and Processes of Influence.” Sociological Perspectives 56:1-23.
  • De Coster, Stacy, Karen Heimer and Samantha R. Cumley. 2013. “Girls, Gender, and Delinquency.” Pp. 313-330 in Cullen, Francis T. and Pamela Wilcox. The Oxford Handbook of Criminological Theory.
  • De Coster, Stacy. 2012. “Mothers’ Gendered Roles, Ideologies, Distress, and Parenting: Consequences for Delinquency.” The Sociological Quarterly 53:586-610.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Rena Zito. 2010. “Gender and General Strain Theory: The Gendering of Emotional Experiences and Expressions.” Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice 26:224-245.
  • De Coster, Stacy, Karen Heimer, and Stacy Wittrock. 2006. “Neighborhood Disadvantage, Social Capital, Street Context, and Youth Violence.” The Sociological Quarterly 47:723-53.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Karen Heimer. 2006. “Crime at the Intersection: Gender, Race, and Violent Offending.” Pp. 138-156 in Peterson, Ruth, Lauren Krivo, and John Hagan (Eds). The Many Colors of Crime: Inequalities of Race, Ethnicity and Crime in America . New York : New York University Press.
  • Heimer, Karen, Stacy De Coster, and Halime Unal. 2006. “Opening the Black Box: Understanding the Social Psychology of the Gender Gap in Delinquency.” Sociology of Crime, Law, and Deviance 7:109-35.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Lisa Kort-Butler. 2006. “How General is General Strain Theory: Assessing Issues of Determinacy and Indeterminacy.” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 43:1-29.
  • De Coster, Stacy. 2005. “Delinquency and Depression: Gendered Responses to Gendered Stresses.” Sociological Perspectives 48:155-187.
  • De Coster, Stacy. 2003 “Delinquency and Depression: A Gendered Role-Taking and Social Learning Perspective.”  Advances in Criminological Theory 11:129-51.
  • De Coster, Stacy and Karen Heimer. 2001. “The Relationship Between Law Violation and Depression: An Interactionist Analysis.” Criminology 39:799-836.
  • Mueller, Charles, Stacy De Coster, and Sarah Beth Estes. 2001. “Sexual Harassment in the Workplace: Unanticipated Consequences of Modern Social Control in Organizations.” Work and Occupations 28:411-446.
  • Heimer, Karen and Stacy De Coster. 1999. “The Gendering of Violent Delinquency.”  Criminology 37:277-317.
  • De Coster, Stacy, Sarah Beth Estes, and Charles W. Mueller. 1999. “Routine Activities and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace.” Work and Occupations 26:21-49. 


B.A. Sociology and Philosophy Saint Norbert College

M.A. Sociology University of Iowa

Ph.D. Sociology University of Iowa

Area(s) of Expertise

Crime and Social Control, Sociology of Mental Health, Inequality: Gender, Race, Class, and Intersecting Inequalities, Social Psychology, Sociology of Family