Cretacci, Michael A. (2010). Is there a Relationship between Religious Participation and Criminal Delinquency?: A Test of Social Control Theory
. Edwin Mellen Press.
This study presents a revision of Hirschi's social control theory that includes religion as an additional measurement arena of the social bond and tests its impact on various forms of criminality (property crime, drug use, violence, and general crime). This project also addresses the criticism that methodological problems and limited applications of the theory plague the literature by employing a longitudinal test of the theory using a nationally representative sample. Hirschi's social control theory is founded upon the belief that informal controls influence deviant behavior. Social control theory places importance on the relationships that a child develops with the family, school, and conventional beliefs in social rules in constraining various forms of deviant behavior. While religion is a natural arena of informal control, Hirschi's theory does not include the effects of this institution on delinquency. More specifically, this project includes religious belief and religious commitment as possible inhibitors of destructive behavior. Finally, results are presented that indicate that the effects of the social bond may be different for various forms of deviant behavior and that religiosity may play a role in decreasing involvement in drug use and violent crime. However, those effects are not significant enough to call for a complete revision in the social bond.
Cretacci, Michael A.
Edwin Mellen Press