skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 203223 Find in a Library
Title: Religion and Social Control: An Application of a Modified Social Bond on Violence
Journal: Criminal Justice Review  Volume:28  Issue:2  Dated:Autumn 2003  Pages:254-277
Author(s): Michael A. Cretacci
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 24
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study explored whether the elements of a revised social bond, which includes religion, would have an impact on violent behavior across developmental stages.
Abstract: Hirschi's model of social control theory asserts that the likelihood that delinquent acts will occur increases when the individual's bond to society is weak or broken. The current study used a series of subsamples in an effort to determine whether the elements of the social bond were associated with lower levels of violence across developmental stages. The study revised the social bond to include the following indicators of religion: parental religious attachment, religious commitment, and religious belief. The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health ("Add Health") was selected for the study. Add Health focuses on the kinds of relationships in which adolescents engage, which makes Hirschi's attachment measures amenable to conceptualization. At the time data were collected, the respondents were still attending school, so relationships with school officials and indicators of school performance were also included. The items thus produce good measures of Hirschi's concepts of commitment and involvement. The research team included a religion questionnaire, which allowed for the inclusion of the additional measurement context. The findings indicate that social control theory is a poor explanation of violent behavior. Only peer commitment was found to be significant for early adolescents. Also, only school attachment, belief, and school and peer commitment were significant for the middle developmental stage. Further, only school attachment and school commitment attained significance for late adolescents. The assertion that religion should be added to the social bond for the modeling of violence was not supported. Thus, without further study, the argument that religion should be added to social control theory to enhance its explanatory power for violence should be viewed with caution. Further research into this issue may help to clarify this assertion, since other researchers have recently found that religion does have a significant impact on violent behavior. Some explanations for inconsistent findings regarding the impact of religion on violent behavior are offered. 4 tables, 67 references, and appended zero-order correlation matrix of independent, dependent, and control variables
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency factors
Index Term(s): Informal social control; Religion; Social bond theory; Social control theory; Violence prevention
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.