Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Criminal sociopaths frequently claim commitment to Christianity, a religion which philosophically is counter to a sociopath's world view. Ascertaining whether or not religious commitment is a variable relevant to corrections is confusing in light of a lack of research which addresses this problem. In this study 25 non-religious and 27 orthodox Christian male sociopaths, inmates from Oregon State Penitentiary, were administered the Tennessee Self-Concept Scale, the Rotter Internal/External Locus of Control Scale, and the Mosher Forced Choice Guilt Scales. To gather data on the religious experience of the sociopath, the Spiritual Well-Being Scale, the Intrinsic/Extrinsic Religious Orientation Scale, and the God Concept Semantic Differential Scale were also given. Christian sociopaths had significantly higher guilt and had significantly more internal locus of control than non-religious sociopaths. There were no self-esteem differences, but Christian sociopaths had higher behavior self-concept. It was concluded that the Christian and non-religious sociopaths were distinct populations, and since higher guilt and more internal locus of control are signs in the direction of psychological health, Christian sociopaths were better positioned than non-religious sociopaths. The Christian sociopaths were possibly better prospects for rehabilitation, an idea deserving further consideration in longitudinal research.
Agnor, David W., "Christian and Non-Religious Sociopaths Compared: Self-Concept, Locus of Control, Guilt, and Quality of Religious Experience" (1986). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 409.