Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department/Program

Forensic Psychology

Language

English

First Advisor

Cynthia Calkins

Second Reader

Elizabeth Jeglic

Third Advisor

Rebecca Weiss

Abstract

Public perceptions impact the formation of sex offender policy, yet much of what the public knows about sex crimes is based in stereotypical narratives provided by the media. The present study investigated the effects of media exposure on perceptions of sexual offending and the efficacy of residence restrictions. Participants were randomly assigned to one of three media exposure groups and then asked about their opinions about sexual offending and residence restrictions. Results indicated that participants who viewed sensationalized media reports were more likely than individuals who viewed informed media and no media to endorse more stereotypical views of individuals convicted of a sex offense and were more likely to believe that residence restrictions are effective in reducing sex crimes. These findings will be discussed as they pertain to sexual violence policy.

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