the criminology and criminal justice network
"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."
-Michael D. Reisig, Scott E. Wolfe, and Travis C. Pratt, concerning "Low Self-Control and the Religiosity-Crime Relationship," published in the September 2012 issue of Criminal Justice and Behavior.