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NCJ Number: 204945 Find in a Library
Title: Love Thy Neighbor? Moral Communities, Civic Engagement, and Juvenile Homicide in Rural Areas
Journal: Social Forces  Volume:82  Issue:3  Dated:March 2004  Pages:1001-1035
Author(s): Matthew R. Lee; John P. Bartkowski
Date Published: March 2004
Page Count: 35
Sponsoring Agency: National Science Foundation
Arlington, VA 22230
Grant Number: SES 0237968
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study builds upon and extends prior relevant research by investigating the structural sources of variation in rural juvenile homicide rates, with attention to the influence of religion.
Abstract: The empirical analyses tested the hypothesis that juvenile homicide rates will be lower in rural communities that have a larger proportion of their population base associated with civically involved religious denominations. Further, given the institutional ties between religion and family, the study anticipated that this protective effect would be particularly evident for juvenile family homicide rates. The analysis selected U.S. counties with a population less than or equal to 20,000 people. For comparative purposes, the researchers also examined a sample of urban counties having a population base of 100,000 or more. Population data sources were for the early 1990's. Data on juvenile homicide for the counties were drawn from the Supplementary Homicide Reports offender file. Data on the key explanatory variable (proportion of the population adhering to civically engaged religious denominations) were drawn from county-level measures in the "Census of Churches" (1992). This dataset provided detailed information on more than 100 denominations, the number of churches, and adherents. Data from the General Social Survey were used to measure community involvement of a denomination's civic engagement. The researchers identified as civically engaged those denominations or other forms of religious organizations whose adherents reported an above-average number of voluntary association memberships. Negative binomial regression estimation techniques found that the presence of civically engaged religious adherents was inversely associated with juvenile homicide in rural areas, but this protective effect was primarily confined to juvenile family homicide. In contrast, the measure of civically engaged denominations had no effect on juvenile homicide in urban areas. The researchers conclude that these findings clearly underscore the significant, albeit circumscribed, role of religious communities in promoting a crime-deterrent civic infrastructure for American youth in rural areas. 5 tables, 15 notes, and 150 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile delinquency prevention
Index Term(s): Community involvement; Family homicide; Juvenile delinquency in rural areas; Juvenile murderers; Religion; Rural area studies; Rural crime; Rural urban comparisons
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