Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Mark Fondacaro

Second Reader

Charles Stone

Third Advisor

Marinia Sorochinski


White Racial Identity is a relatively new concept with little to no consensus as to the operationalization of such identity. The first ever White Racial Identity model was developed by Janet E. Helms in 1990. The role of White racial identity has been studied in the context of the racial gap in employment and its influence on racial attitudes, but it has yet to be studied in the context of the juvenile justice system. The criminal justice system is racially imbalanced, with Black males imprisoned 5.5 times more than White males. One of the factors contributing to this imbalance is the interaction of racial prejudice and racial typification of criminality. To date, the literature excludes the exploration of White Racial Identity and its impact on the degree of punitive attitudes towards juvenile offenders, specifically Black juvenile offenders. To understand the connection of this racial identity and its impact on Black juvenile offenders, is to understand a potential avenue for juvenile justice reform in which racial biases do not dictate support nor opposition towards reform, but rather the efficacy of the reform is what is evaluated. This study investigated the relationship between healthy and unhealthy White Racial Identity and the level of punitiveness towards delinquency. This study collected data using the White Racial Identity Attitudes Scale and the Symbolic Racism 2000 Scale. A multiple regression implicated a significant relationship between the progression through the developmental stages of White Racial Identity and level of Symbolic Racism, as well as their impact on punitiveness towards delinquency.


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