Is There Any Relation Between Religious Participation and Criminal Delinquency? A Test of Social Control Theory

Author: Cretacci, Michael A.
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.


“Why does religion not play a more decisive role in controlling delinquent behavior? Professor Cretacci suggests that we might find the answer in the work of Emile Durkheim. Durkheim argued that our society is becoming more secular and in such a society religion may play less of a role. This is certainly a plausible explanation. The failure to find a specific effect of religion on delinquent behavior may not be because of the decreased importance of religious values in our society, but rather it may be that religion forms the basis of those values that permeate all aspects of our society and, hence, religion’s effect is, in a causal sense, more distal and indirect.” –Prof. Marv Krohn, University of Florida

“. . . the link between religiosity and delinquency is one that has interested criminologists for some time. Thus, a work that contributes to both is a rare and welcome addition to the criminological literature.” – Prof. Craig Rivera, Niagara University

Table of Contents

Chapter 1
Durkheim and the Social Bond
Chapter 2
Control Theory: A Retrospective
Chapter 3
Hirschi: The Causes of Delinquency
Chapter 4
Modification: Adding Religion to the Social Bond
Chapter 5
Data and Methods
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Summary and Discussion