The religious attitudes of delinquents and non-delinquents

Date

1969-08-01

Authors

Dargan, Javan Earl.

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Abstract

Purpose: The objectives of this study were: (1) to determine whether significant differences exist between the religious attitudes of delinquent fourteen and fifteen year old Latin-American males; (2) to determine whether significant differences exist between these two groups in regard to religious training in their homes; (3) to determine whether significant differences exist among these groups with respect to the five religious attitudes – towards God, toward one’s fellowman, concerning worship and the Scriptures, toward heaven and eternity, toward the church and organized religion – encompassed by the attitude inventory, How I Think and Feel. Methods: The methods used in this study were: (1) to collect data on the religious attitudes of delinquents and non-delinquents by using the attitude inventory, How I Think and Feel; (2) to analyze the responses to the specific questions within the religious attitude categories for the delinquent and non-delinquent groups by using the chi square test with differences considered to be significant when they reached the .05 level; (3) to analyze the difference between he means of the five categories for the delinquent and non-delinquent groups by using the t-test technique with differences considered to be significant when they reached the .05 level. Findings: From the data presented in this study the following conclusions were made: 1. The Latin-American fourteen and fifteen year old male delinquents and the Latin-American fourteen and fifteen year old non-delinquents were differentiated significantly by grade placement and number of siblings. Also, home status and employment of the father tended toward differentiation. There were more delinquents than non-delinquents in lower grades and the delinquents tended to come from larger families than the non-delinquents. Also, more fathers of delinquents were unemployed and fewer delinquents had both parents in the home than the non-delinquents. 2. The two sample groups were significantly differentiated with respect to the attitude category concerning heaven and eternity. The attitudes of the non-delinquents indicated that their religious training concerning heaven and eternity was more established in Christian orthodoxy than were the attitudes of the non-delinquents. 3. The study sample of Latin-American delinquents and Latin-American non-delinquents were similar with respect to the means of these categories: attitude toward God, attitude toward one’s fellowman, attitude concerning worship and the Scriptures, and the attitude toward the church and organized religion. 4. No significant differences existed between Latin-American juvenile delinquents and Latin-American juvenile non-delinquents in regard to total scores on the attitude inventory, How I Think and Feel, with exception of eight questionnaire items. More delinquents than non-delinquents indicated that public prayers in church than private prayers, that the Bible told them all they needed to know about the sacraments, that they kept what they found unless the owner knew about it, and that it was not proper to have a church service without using the Bible. More non-delinquents than delinquents indicated that they felt bad when they had said something mean about someone, that they had faith that God would direct their daily lives, that they felt God would allow people to go to hell even though He is loving and forgiving, and that hey believed that what the Bible said was more important than what their parents told them.

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Keywords

Religion and sociology, Juvenile delinquency

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