Social deviance is a term used in psychology to describe behavior that falls outside the norms of a particular society or community. It is behavior that is considered inappropriate, unacceptable, or even harmful by the majority of people in a given social context. Social deviance can take many forms, from minor transgressions like jaywalking to more serious offenses like theft or murder.

What Causes Social Deviance?

There are many factors that can contribute to social deviance. Some of the most common causes include poverty, lack of education, mental illness, and substance abuse. People who grow up in disadvantaged environments may be more likely to engage in deviant behavior because they lack the resources and support needed to succeed in mainstream society.

The Role of Culture and Society

Culture and society also play a significant role in shaping our attitudes towards social deviance. What is considered normal or acceptable behavior in one culture may be viewed as deviant or even criminal in another. For example, wearing brightly colored clothing and loud music may be perfectly acceptable in some cultures but could be viewed as disruptive or disrespectful in others.

Types of Social Deviance

There are many different types of social deviance. Some examples include:

The Consequences of Social Deviance

The consequences of social deviance can vary widely depending on the severity of the behavior and the social context in which it occurs. In some cases, people who engage in deviant behavior may face legal consequences like fines or imprisonment. In other cases, they may face social ostracism or discrimination.


Social deviance is a complex phenomenon that can have serious consequences for individuals and society as a whole. By understanding the causes and types of deviant behavior, we can take steps to prevent it and promote more positive social norms. Ultimately, it is up to all of us to work together to create a more just and equitable society where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.