Date of Award

Spring 2022

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Philip Yanos

Second Reader

Charles Stone

Third Advisor

Rebecca Weiss


Mental health stigma is a key factor to what makes members of the community who are diagnosed with mental illness feel like outcasts to the “normal” population. This study investigated the relationship between right-winged beliefs and offenders diagnosed with mental illness. Sigma as it relates to mental health, offenders, and right-winged beliefs have been studied separately before, but there is a lack of information on the stigma that the public has towards offenders who struggle with their mental health and the possible predictors of stigma towards this group. Overall, this study aimed to further research in the intersectionality of stigmatized groups by examining the extent to which community members stigmatize offenders diagnosed with mental illness. Community members completed a survey that included the Public Attitudes Towards Offenders with Mental Illness scale, which is made up of 28 Likert scale questions, as well as 20-item Right Wing Authoritarianism scale. Participants also answered a set of open-ended questions that were related to potential bias and perceptions, and demographic questions to examine possible predictors of public attitudes. This research shed light on public perception and gained insight into possible predictors of these attitudes to understand difficulties and judgement this population may face when trying to reintegrate back into the community.



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