Religion and deviant behavior

Project period/status

proposal in preparation

Project staff

Dr. Jan-Philip Steinmann (Project Manager)

Project description

It is examined how and under what conditions religion influences deviant behavior in increasingly secularized societies. Previous research has pointed to both positive and negative effects of religious commitment on deviant behavior and demonstrated that religion effects can be conditional, inverse, and nonlinear. The goal is to focus on the complexity of the relationship between religion and delinquency against the backdrop of three limitations of previous research. First, the interaction between individual religion and other identities (e.g., ethnicity, class, gender) in explaining deviant behavior will be examined (“complex religion”). Second, cross-level interactions between individual religion and religious context (e.g., religious communities, school classes, families) should be considered in explaining deviant behavior (“religious context matters”). Third, explanatory mechanisms for the link between religion and deviance should be explicitly elaborated and empirically tested in a rigorous way (“mechanisms of religious influence”). The first two limitations will be addressed based on quantitative secondary data. To address the third limitation, qualitative primary data will also be collected.