Does religion suppress, socialize, soothe, or support? Exploring religiosity's influence on crime

Jonathan R. Brauer, Olena Antonaccio, Charles R. Tittle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


A negative association between religiosity and crime is commonly documented in the United States and other Western contexts. In this study, we examine associations between religiosity and criminal probability among randomly selected survey respondents in a non-Western Christian context (Lviv, Ukraine) and a non-Western Islamic context (Dhaka, Bangladesh). In addition, we explore whether religiosity is associated in these contexts with various theoretical mechanisms identified in prior research, including self-control, social control, moral beliefs, negative emotions, and social support. Results confirm that religiosity is negatively correlated with projected criminal probability in non-Western contexts as well as among both Christian and Muslim respondents. Furthermore, net of social and demographic characteristics, religiosity appears to indirectly influence crime through moral beliefs and, to a lesser extent, through self-control and informal social control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-774
Number of pages22
JournalJournal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2013



  • Crime
  • Morality
  • Religiosity
  • Self-control
  • Social control
  • Social support

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Religious studies

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