Gender, Risk, and Religiousness: Can Power Control Provide the Theory?


gender, power-control theory, crime, religion, risk


Collett and Lizardo (2009) offer a model of gender differences that revisits and expands earlier research, in particular nascent ideas used by Miller and Hoffmann (1995) that were borrowed, in part, from a power-control theory of delinquency and crime. However, I am skeptical of their attempt to apply power-control theory as a general explanation of gender differences in religiousness. In this response piece, I first set the context by describing how Alan Miller and I initially approached our risk and religion work. I then point out where I think the research stream went awry and why recent studies of risk preferences and religion have failed to provide convincing evidence one way or the other. Finally, I offer an appraisal of Collett and Lizardo's work, with particular attention to why adopting power-control theory should be viewed with caution. I conclude with suggestions for future research on gender and religiousness.

Original Publication Citation

Hoffmann, John P. 2009. “Gender, Risk, and Religiousness: Can Power-Control Provide the Theory?” Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion 48(2): 232-240.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion




Family, Home, and Social Sciences



University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor