Low Self-Control and the Religiosity-Crime Relationship

Michael Reisig, Scott E. Wolfe, Travis C. Pratt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Two arguments have been advanced regarding the effect of low self-control on the religiosity-crime relationship. The first holds that self-control explains both religiosity and criminal offending (the confounding hypothesis), whereas the second posits that religiosity promotes self-control and indirectly affects antisocial behavior (the mediation hypothesis). Both hypotheses predict that the observed effect of religiosity on criminal offending is a spurious result of individual variations in self-control. With cross-sectional survey data from a university-based sample of 769 adult participants, the regression models indicate that the effect of religiosity on self-reported criminal offending is no different from zero after controlling for low self-control. This finding is observed when different religiosity measures are used. Religiosity did, however, predict minor crimes characterized by personal indulgence (i.e., ascetic offenses) independent of low self-control.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1172-1191
Number of pages20
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012


  • crime
  • offending
  • religion
  • religiosity
  • self-control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Low Self-Control and the Religiosity-Crime Relationship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this