Understanding Delinquency with Friendship Group Religious Context


  • Statistical coding is available from the author, but the data are only available from Add Health at the University of North Carolina. Add Health is a program project designed by J. Richard Udry, Peter S. Bearman, and Kathleen Mullan Harris, and funded by Grant P01-HD31921 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, with cooperative funding from 17 other agencies. Special acknowledgment is due Ronald R. Rindfuss and Barbara Entwisle for assistance in the original design. Persons interested in obtaining data files from Add Health should contact Add Health, Carolina Population Center, 123 W. Franklin St., Chapel Hill, NC 27516-2524 (http://www.cpc.unc.edu/projects/addhealth/data/restricteduse).

Direct correspondence to Amy Adamczyk, Department of Sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York, 899 10th Ave., Suite 520, New York, NY 10019 〈aadamczyk@jjay.cuny.edu〉.



While much research has examined the link between personal religious beliefs and practices and delinquency, little research attention has been given to the influence of friends’ religious beliefs for explaining teen delinquency. This study fills this gap in the literature by examining the role of individual and friends’ religious beliefs and born-again identity for shaping delinquency.


Two waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health and measures taken from individuals and their friends are used to examine the influence of individual and friends’ religiosity and born-again identity for violent and property offending.


Friends’ private religiosity appears to strengthen the inverse relationship between individual private religiosity and stealing. Neither individual nor friends’ religiosity nor born-again identity has any effect on violent offending.


Whereas friends’ delinquency has a consistently positive association with respondent delinquency, friends’ religiosity plays a supporting role, heightening the deterring influence of personal religiosity for stealing and shoplifting.