Religion's institutional and denominational effects on lethal violence

Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Sociology

Content Description

1 online resource (v, 168 pages) : illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Steven F Messner

Committee Members

Ryan D King, Glenna D Spitze


Homicide, Integrated Model, Lethal Violence, Religion, Suicide, Violence

Subject Categories

Criminology | Sociology


This dissertation examines the institutional and denominational effects of religion on county-level lethal violence rates in the United States. Homicide and suicide rates are examined independently and together in order to assess the utility of an integrated model of lethal violence. Utilizing Unnithan, Huff-Corzine, Corzine, and Whitt's (1994) stream theory institutional and denominational religious measures are reconceptualized into forces of production and forces of direction respectively. For this research lethal violence data for 1999-2002 was collected from the National Vital Statistics System along with religious indicators from the 2000 Religious Congregations and Membership Study and demographic measures from the 2000 U.S. Census. Among the 1,048 most populous counties, religious homogeneity demonstrates the strongest and most consistent protective effect against homicide and suicide rates. No evidence is found in support of an integrated model; however, the findings do reconfirm the role of fundamentalist Protestantism's impact on homicide rates and contradict prior findings on mainline Protestantism's impact on suicide rates. Further analysis of the relationship between religion and suicide also identifies interactions between religious homogeneity and the percent religious and evidence for a curvilinear relationship between the percent mainline Protestant affiliated and the suicide rate.


Requested ProQuest takedown; no end date

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