Role of Religiosity in the Lives of the Low-Income Population: A Comprehensive Review of the Evidence. Overview


The effect of religion on crime has been documented in research for the past century and continues to be explored in current times (Baier & Wright, 2001; Hirschi & Stark, 1969; Lombroso, 1911; Rohrbaugh & Jessor, 1975). According to Baier and Wright (2001), from 1969 to 1998, social scientists produced an average of two studies per year that estimated the effect of religion on crime. Since 2002, there has been a marked increase in the number of research studies in this area. Johnson (2008a) examines studies conducted between 2002 and 2008 and classifies 134 studies that find beneficial effects of religion on rates of delinquency, 19 that find null effects, and 2 that find harmful effects. While most of the research in this area has documented correlations between religion and crime, in recent years, the studies exploring the relationship between religion and crime have started to use more rigorous statistical techniques to identify causal paths.

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