Some causes of deviance include poverty, mental illness, learned behaviors and possibly even inherited traits. Deviant behavior is caused by complex interactions of psychological, sociological, economic and biological forces that encourage individuals to rebel against societal norms.
There are numerous conflicting theories on the causes of deviant behavior, but the main ones fall into three categories: functionalist, conflict and symbolic interactionism. Functionalist theories hold that the proper or improper functioning of an individual within a culture determines his deviance. Conflict theories apply Marxist theories of power politics to deviant behavior. Symbolic interactionism holds that a person generally behave in accord with a social understanding of reality. For instance, a person might view himself as a criminal because he was labeled a delinquent when young and is therefore likely to commit criminal acts.