PhD student Megan Mohler sole authors a new study, clarifying how spirituality and religious participation contribute to desistance from binge drinking among youth with prior involvement in serious or violent crime. Desistance scholarship recognizes both subjective (i.e., internal) and structural (i.e., social or external) sources of behavior change. However, prior research on the link between religiosity and criminal behavior has not fully disentangled the concept of religiosity into its subjective (i.e., spirituality) and social structural (i.e., religious participation) components while modeling persons as contexts. Addressing this gap, Megan uses secondary data from The Pathways to Desistance Study and mixed effects logistic regression models. Findings reveal that spirituality has significant within-individual effects on the likelihood to engage in binge drinking, while religious participation was not significant at either level. Notably, a significant interaction effect was found, which indicates religious participation and spirituality work synergistically to reduce the likelihood of binge drinking.

Results reinforce the idea that subjective and structural domains of religiosity need to be operationalized separately, and that research should consider interactions between subjective and structural variables to better understand how they operate together to promote desistance. The Mohler (2024) study titled The Influence of spirituality and religious participation on binge drinking: An investigation into subjective and structural mechanisms of desistance has been published in the Journal of Criminal Justice - which is currently ranked the sixth best journal in the discipline (IF=5.5). This published study was directly based off Megan's work on her research paper, a requirement for PhD students. Megan is advised by Dr. Jeffrey T. Ward.