Psychological Mechanisms Underlying Support for Juvenile Sex Offender Registry Laws: Prototypes, Moral Outrage, and Perceived Threat

Posted: 7 Aug 2018

See all articles by Jessica M. Salerno

Jessica M. Salerno

Arizona State University

Cynthia Najdowski

University at Albany, State University of New York

Margaret Stevenson

University of Evansville

Tisha Wiley

National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Bette Bottoms

University of Illinois at Chicago

Roberto Vaca

Independent

Pamela Pimentel

Independent

Date Written: 2010

Abstract

In three studies, we investigated support for applying sex offender registry laws to juveniles. Family law attorneys supported registry laws less for juveniles than for adults. Laypeople and prosecutors supported juvenile and adult sex offender registration equally — even though they perceived juveniles as generally less threatening than adults (Study 1) — because most people spontaneously envision a severe sex offender prototype regardless of offender age (Study 2). People are less supportive of registry laws, however, when they envision less severe prototypes spontaneously (Study 2) or when induced to do so (Study 3). Effects of offender age, offender prototypes, and offense severity were mediated by perceptions of threat posed by the juvenile sex offender (i.e., utilitarian concerns). The effect of offense severity was also mediated by moral outrage (i.e., retributive concerns).

Suggested Citation

Salerno, Jessica M. and Najdowski, Cynthia and Stevenson, Margaret and Wiley, Tisha and Bottoms, Bette and Vaca, Roberto and Pimentel, Pamela, Psychological Mechanisms Underlying Support for Juvenile Sex Offender Registry Laws: Prototypes, Moral Outrage, and Perceived Threat (2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3215854

Jessica M. Salerno

Arizona State University ( email )

4701 W Thunderbird Rd (MC 3051)
Glendale, AZ 85034
United States

Cynthia Najdowski (Contact Author)

University at Albany, State University of New York ( email )

1400 Washington Ave
Albany, NY 12222
United States
518-591-8786 (Phone)

Margaret Stevenson

University of Evansville ( email )

Evansville, IN 47722
United States

Tisha Wiley

National Institutes of Health (NIH) ( email )

9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
United States

Bette Bottoms

University of Illinois at Chicago ( email )

1200 W Harrison St
Chicago, IL 60607
United States

Roberto Vaca

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Pamela Pimentel

Independent ( email )

No Address Available

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