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The ''Religious Factor" and Delinquent Behavior

Sage Publications
Publication Date
  • Criminology
  • Religious Science


A multivariate model that assumes the effects of religious orientation and attendance for adolescents and their families, the occupational status of the family, and the age and family structure of adolescents are additive is employed to test the effect of religion on delinquent and truant behavior. The test shows that the life chances of being a delinquent or truant depend upon the religious orientation and participation of adolescents and their families. Jews and nonfundamental Protestants have the lowest delinquency rates while subjects with no church affili ation have the highest rates. A higher than expected rate for male Roman Catholics, however, remains unexplained. A test for the additive properties of the model was limited to examining the rates of court recorded delinquency for white males. While several tests indicate that the effects of the inde pendent variables on delinquency are not altogether additive, the model gives a first approximation to the actual measures of religious orientation and delinquency or truancy. Further work on the relationship of religious factors to deviant behavior is discouraged unless more refined measures of religious orientation and of the quality of religious commitment and participation are secured.

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