The present thesis is a study of 103 LDS inmates at Utah State Prison. It tests the hypothesis that the inmates are more likely to come from non-cohesive homes. In 1959, Dr. Evan T. Peterson completed a study of three thousand 12-18 year old LDS male youths. Out of Dr. Peterson's respondents, 112 sixteen-eighteen year old subjects were selectively drawn to match the inmate sample in terms of fathers' occupation and education. This stratified sample was used as the control group.

The study confirmed the above family environment hypothesis. It found that when compared to the control group, the LDS inmates more frequently came from homes where there was a general lack of congeniality, of family activities, and of family stability. The study concluded that a cohesive family environment is one of the most important deterrents to delinquency.

The study also tested alternative hypotheses. The study confirmed hypotheses concerning religiosity, peer relationships and self-concept. This indicated that religion, good peer relations and a good self-concept are also important deterrents to delinquency. The study also tested hypotheses concerning SES and Anomie. It was concluded that a better stratified sampling technique should be used before the hypothesis, that social class makes a difference, could be accepted or not accepted.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Sociology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Prisoners, Utah, Religious life, Mormons, Social conditions, Utah State Prison