delinquent behavior, religiosity, adolescence, childhood


The first section of this chapter reviews evidence showing that although greater religiosity has been associated with less involvement in delinquent and analogous behaviors, the mechanisms and processes through which religiosity is linked too delinquent behavior are not well understood. In the second section of the chapter, a conceptual framework and theory for studying the religion-delinquency association will be presented. The framework adapts and builds on Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) General Theory of Crime. The third section of the chapter presents results off the initial study guided by the framework. Data are drawn from a longitudinal study of development during the transition of middle childhood to adolescence. Participants (n = 181) completed standard self-reported assessments. Results provide initial evidence the the link between religiosity and delinquent behavior problems can be explained by the reduced opportunities and dispositions to engage in delinquent behavior more common among highly religious than less highly religious adolescents.

Original Publication Citation

Laird, R. D., *Marrero, M. D., & Marks, L. D. (2009). Adolescent religiosity as a protective factor for delinquency: Review of evidence and a conceptual framework for future research. In O. Sahin & J. Maier (Eds.), Delinquency: Causes, reduction, and prevention (pp. 157-176). Hauppage, NY: Nova Science.

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date


Permanent URL


Nova Science




Family, Home, and Social Sciences


Family Life

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor