The Protective Effects of Religious Coping and Spirituality on Delinquency: Results Among High-Risk and Gang-Involved Salvadoran Youth

Christopher P. Salas-Wright, René Olate, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

31 Citations (Scopus)


While research conducted in Western nations suggests that religiosity and spirituality protect against delinquent behavior, few studies have examined these relationships in developing world contexts. Using a community sample of 290 high-risk and gang-involved adolescents (11-17 years) and young adults (18-25 years) in San Salvador, El Salvador, structural equation modeling and logistic regression are used to examine the relationships between religious coping, spirituality, social developmental factors, and delinquency. Results suggest that spirituality and, to a lesser extent, religious coping, protect Salvadoran youth at risk for involvement in delinquent behavior. The relationship between spirituality and delinquency was completely mediated by social developmental factors as no direct association was identified between spirituality and delinquency. Spirituality and religious coping are both relevant protective factors among Salvadoran youth; however, spirituality is more consistently protective against delinquency in terms of its relationship to social developmental mediating factors and its direct associations to particular delinquent behaviors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-1008
Number of pages21
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Sep 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

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