Browsing by Subject "church attendance"

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  • Kuivaniemi, Antti (Helsingin yliopisto, 2018)
    Objectives: From the viewpoint of public safety and offender rehabilitation, there is a constant need for a development of more effective recidivism prevention programs. Religion has been offered as a solution to prevent recidivism and at the moment, many religious programs are run in the offender population. The objective of thesis is to examine the associations of religion on recidivism and whether this association is mediated by antisocial peer influence. Methods: This thesis utilizes a comprehensive longitudinal Pathways to Desistance data, in which participants were followed for seven years. The sample used in this thesis includes 1354 juvenile offenders, convicted of a serious offence, from Phoenix and Philadelphia, United States. The recidivism was examined with Self-Reported Offending (SRO) measure, and for the purposes of this thesis, both 1- year and 2-year measurements were used. The extent of religious beliefs and the frequency of church attendance were assessed with Importance of Spirituality scale. The associations of both religious beliefs and church attendance with recidivism in 1-year and 2-year measurements, and the mediating effects of antisocial peer influence, were assessed via binary logistic regression. Results and conclusions: It was found that religious beliefs predicted a decrease in recidivism two years after the religious beliefs were measures, but that association was not present in the 1-year follow-up. Higher church attendance was associated with a higher amount of recidivism at both 1-year and 2-year follow-ups after religious beliefs, antisocial peer influence and demographic variable were controlled for. Also, contrary to the framework of the social control theory, it was found that the association of religious beliefs or church attendance with recidivism was not mediated by the antisocial peer influence. In addition, the association of the religious beliefs on recidivism was not moderated by church attendance and vice versa. Overall, the body of literature on this subject is still very limited, with mixed results and with different types of measurements used. The findings of this thesis add to the evidence base and suggest that the effect of religion on recidivism is small at best, and that it is dependent on the constructs and measurements used. The development of recidivism prevention programs should focus on elements that have more empirical evidence and have been proven to work.