Journal Article

Religion as Context: Hellfire and Delinquency One More Time*

Rodney Stark

in Sociology of Religion

Published on behalf of Association for the Sociology of Religion

Volume 57, issue 2, pages 163-173
Published in print January 1996 | ISSN: 1069-4404
e-ISSN: 1759-8818 | DOI:
Religion as Context: Hellfire and Delinquency One More Time*

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More than 10 years ago the author proposed a contextual-interactional explanation of the fact that research done on the West Coast fails to find a relationship between religious commitment and delinquency, while studies done elsewhere invariably find a strong negative correlation. Unfortunately, because of various deficiencies, subsequent studies that claimed to test the contextual explanation have not done so — leaving the literature more confused than ever. In an effort to clarify matters, this paper carefully restates the contextual theory and then tests it on data from a very large survey of higfr school seniors. The results demonstrate the existence of a very potent contextual effect.

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Subjects: Religion ; Sociology of Religion

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