Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

'Spiritual' young people more likely to commit crimes than 'religious' ones

Date:
June 12, 2013
Source:
Baylor University
Summary:
Young adults who deem themselves “spiritual but not religious” are more likely to commit property crimes — and to a lesser extent, violent ones — than those who identify themselves as either “religious and spiritual” or “religious but not spiritual,” according to researchers.

Young adults who deem themselves "spiritual but not religious" are more likely to commit property crimes -- and to a lesser extent, violent ones -- than those who identify themselves as either "religious and spiritual" or "religious but not spiritual," according to Baylor University researchers.

Related Articles


The sociologists' study, published in the journal Criminology, also showed that those in a fourth category -- who say they are neither spiritual nor religious -- are less likely to commit property crimes than the "spiritual but not religious" individuals. But no difference was found between the two groups when it came to violent crimes.

"The notion of being spiritual but not associated with any organized religion has become increasingly popular, and our question is how that is different from being religious, whether you call yourself 'spiritual' or not," said Sung Joon Jang, Ph.D., an associate professor of sociology in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences. He is lead author of the study, "Is Being 'Spiritual' Enough Without Being Religious? A Study of Violent and Property Crimes Among Emerging Adults."

He noted that until the 20th century, the terms "religious" and "spiritual" were treated as interchangeable.

Previous research indicated that people who say they are religious show lower levels of crime and deviance, which refers to norm-violating behavior.

The researchers analyzed data from a sample of 14,322 individuals from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. They ranged in age from 18 to 28, with an average age of 21.8.

In the confidential survey, participants were asked how often they had committed crimes in the previous 12 months -- including violent crimes such as physical fights or armed robbery -- while property crimes included vandalism, theft and burglary.

Past research shows that people who report themselves as spiritual make up about 10 percent of the general population, Jang said.

"Calling oneself 'spiritual but not religious' turned out to more of an antisocial characteristic, unlike identifying oneself as religious," said Baylor researcher Aaron Franzen, a doctoral candidate and study co-author.

In their study, the Baylor researchers hypothesized that those who are spiritual but not religious would be less conventional than the religious group -- but could be either more or less conventional than the "neither" group.

"We were thinking that religious people would have an institutional and communal attachment and investment, while the spiritual people would have more of an independent identity," Franzen said.

Theories for why religious people are less likely to commit crime are that they fear "supernatural sanctions" as well as criminal punishment and feel shame about deviance; are bonded to conventional society; exercise high self-control in part because of parents who also are likely to be religious; and associate with peers who reinforce their behavior and beliefs.

Significantly, people who are spiritual but not religious tend to have lower self-control than those who are religious. They also are more likely to experience such strains as criminal victimization and such negative emotions as depression and anxiety. They also are more likely to have peers who use and abuse alcohol, Franzen said. Those factors are predictors of criminal behavior.

"It's a challenge in terms of research to know what that actually means to be spiritual, because they self-identify," he said. "But they are different in some way, as our study shows."

In their research, sociologists included four categories based on how the young adults reported themselves. Those categories and percentages were:

• Spiritual but not religious, 11.5 percent

• Religious but not spiritual, 6.8 percent

• Both spiritual and religious, 37.9 percent

• Neither spiritual nor religious, 43.8 percent


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Baylor University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Baylor University. "'Spiritual' young people more likely to commit crimes than 'religious' ones." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612144732.htm>.
Baylor University. (2013, June 12). 'Spiritual' young people more likely to commit crimes than 'religious' ones. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612144732.htm
Baylor University. "'Spiritual' young people more likely to commit crimes than 'religious' ones." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130612144732.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

EU Pushes Google For Worldwide Right To Be Forgotten

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Privacy regulators recommend Google expand its requested removals to apply to all its web domains. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Who Will Failed Nuclear Talks Hurt Most?

Reuters - Business Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) With no immediate prospect of sanctions relief for Iran, and no solid progress in negotiations with the West over the country's nuclear programme, Ciara Lee asks why talks have still not produced results and what a resolution would mean for both parties. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

FCC Forces T-Mobile To Alert Customers Of Data Throttling

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) T-Mobile and the FCC have reached an agreement requiring the company to alert customers when it throttles their data speeds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins