The role of religiosity as a protective factor in the lives of female juvenile offenders
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Research suggests that religion acts as a protective factor for adolescents that participate in at-risk behaviors. This study sought to explore the influence of religious factors for girls in the juvenile justice system that improve their adaptability and psychological health, promote readiness to change, and prevent the likelihood of the rise of cyclical delinquent behavior and violent crime. In order to examine the relationship between religiosity and variables influence on overall social emotional functioning within this sample of female juvenile offenders, a battery of self-report measures were administered, and offense data collected on all participants. Religiosity was assessed with Religious Commitment Inventory -10 and the Intrinsic Extrinsic Religiosity Revised Scale. The Behavior Assessment System for Children, Second Edition, Adolescent Self-Report was utilized to assess participants’ behavior and emotional state. A correlational analysis was performed to determine if religiosity variables, specifically, intrinsic and intrapersonal were associated with positive adjustment, and desirable attitudes towards teachers and schools. The results suggest there was a significant relationship between intrinsically religiously motivated individuals and the Interpersonal Relations subscale, and Personal Adjustment Composite subscale. A correlational analysis was conducted to determine the influence that variables of religiosity have on readiness to change, using the University of Rhode Island Change Assessment Questionnaire. The results suggest that religiosity was not correlated with an individual’s readiness to change. A correlational analysis indicated that there was not an association among demographic factors and religious salience. A correlational analysis was performed between the variables of religiosity and the levels of offense. A significant negative relationship between intrinsic religiosity and increased levels of offending was found. A regression analysis was conducted to examine the strength of the relationship. These results suggest that the more intrinsically religiously motivated an individual, the less likely they are to have higher levels of offense. These findings provide support for utilizing religiosity as a tool for treatment planning in addressing the needs of female juvenile offenders.