Date of Award

Spring 5-14-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Forensic Psychology



First Advisor or Mentor

Cynthia Calkins

Second Reader

Elizabeth Jeglic

Third Advisor

Rebecca Weiss


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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