Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Criminal Justice


Eric Piza

Committee Members

Brian Lawton

Jeffrey Butts

Douglas Evans

Subject Categories

Criminology | Sociology


Credible Messengers, Cure Violence


The use of credible messengers to deliver violence reduction programs has spread rapidly since it was first used in a criminal justice context by Cure Violence in 2006. Despite the rapid growth in the use of credible messengers and the accompanying evaluations of these programs, there is no clear operationalization of what a credible messenger is, aside from vague definitions contained in the evaluation literature. This research explores what it means to be credible from the perspectives of the Credible Messengers themselves. The research used a mixed method approach wherein qualitative interviews were used to identify traits that the Credible Messengers thought were important to their credibility, and then, a survey was created to ask the wider population of Credible Messengers if they also believed these traits aided their credibility. The research identified five main areas via the qualitative interviews that the Credible Messengers thought were important: 1) Authenticity, 2) Caring, 3) Racial and Cultural Identity, 4) Lived Experience, and 5) Neighborhood, Relationships, and Trust. The survey provided evidence that a wider body of credible messengers agrees that three of these areas are important to credibility: 1) Caring, 2) Authenticity, and 3) Relationships and Trust. This dissertation discusses the implications of these findings, as well as future directions for research in this area.

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