Religion As A Social Bond Theory

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Article Summary
Criminological research has a heavy presence of studies testing social bond theory. One such study, done by Michael Cretacci, tested religion as a social control. Throughout the article Cretacci claimed that Hirschi originally had data on adding religion as a social control, but for some unknown reason excluded it from the theory (Cretacci, 2003). Cretacci used that missing piece of history to see the effect that religion has on violence across developmental stages. In order to test the relationship, Cretacci analyzed the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (“Add Health”), which is a public-use data set meant to represent youth from across the country. He categorized questions from Add Health into the different
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He began with the history of religion as a social bond. It is noted that there are conflicting findings throughout history, especially with big names in sociology. Emile Durkheim and Max Weber thought that religion played a key role in reducing deviance because it strengthened the social control for individuals (Cretacci, 2003). Cesare Lombroso, on the other hand, found that religion had a positive effect on deviance (Cretacci, 2003). It was Durkheim and Weber’s findings that drove Cretacci to claim that religion should be added to Hirschi’s theory. Cretacci (2003) even mentioned that data was included in the original social control theory where Hirschi was adding religion as a social bond, although it never made it into the final four …show more content…
Cretacci (2003) was able to use this data to have findings that can be generalized, which also contributes to the importance of this study. If any other sources of data were used, he might not have been able to accurately measure the bonds, or he would have had a limited sample. Add Health was a great choice because it asked questions that directly related to Cretacci’s measures of attachment, commitment, belief, violence, and even included religion questions that could be used to test the revised social bond aspect of Cretacci’s research.
All variables of Cretacci’s study were valid because he derived them from Hirschi’s social control theory. Add Health had questions dealing with each bond, but some bonds were measured in better ways than others. Some questions, such as “How close do you feel to your mother?” were good indicators of an individual’s attachment. Others, like the one that was supposed to measure religious attachment were not so helpful. “How important is religion to you?” is very vague on its own. Results might have been different if Add Health had more detailed questions in regards to religious

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