Few studies have examined the relationship between religiosity, violent behavior and gang activity in disadvantaged youth. This research study analyzed data from a population of low-income adolescents in Mobile, Alabama. The research objectives were to assess the relationship between adolescent religiosity and involvement in violent behavior and gang activity, and to determine if there were gender differences between boys and girls regarding religiosity, violent behavior and gang activity. It was hypothesized that there would be an inverse relationship between religiosity and violent behavior and gang activity, and that girls would be more religious than boys and less likely to be involved in violent behavior and gang activity.
Data was obtained from the Mobile Youth Survey, a longitudinal multiple cohort study, for the years 1998-2008. Observations from 8998 boys and 10,158 girls were used. Religiosity, violent behavior and gang activity were measured based on the responses to specific questions on the survey. Responses were coded and analyzed using SASR software. Mixed methods analyses were performed separately by gender, with violent behavior and gang activity as dependent variables and religiosity as the independent variable. Mediators included in the multiple regression models were age of respondent, sense of hopelessness, sense of self worth, anger, parental control, feelings towards parents, and neighborhood connectedness.
Results showed that religiosity was not significantly associated with violent behavior and gang activity for both boys and girls. Girls were more religious than boys, and less likely to be involved in violent behavior and gang activity. In both boys and girls, religiosity declined steadily from age 10-18. Further research is needed to determine the factors responsible for the gender difference in religiosity and the decline in religiosity with age.
Keywords: religiosity, violent behavior, gang activity, Mobile Youth Survey.
|Commitee:||Bolland, John M., Davies, Susan L., Jolly, Pauline, Lian, Bradley E.|
|School:||The University of Alabama at Birmingham|
|Department:||Health Education/Promotion (Public Health)|
|School Location:||United States -- Alabama|
|Source:||DAI-A 74/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Criminology, Health education, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Disadvantaged adolescents, Gang activity, Religiosity, Socioeconomic status, Violent behavior|
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