Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Meera Patel



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Ashley Batastini

Committee Member

Owen R Lightsey

Committee Member

Suzanne H Lease

Committee Member

Frances Ellmo

Committee Member

Eraina Schauss


Justice-involved persons, especially people of color and those convicted of a sexual offense, experience bias and other barriers when seeking employment. However, there is no research on the synergistic effects of race and sexual criminal offense on employment-related outcomes. This study examined whether a hypothetical job applicant’s race (Black vs. White) and/or sexual criminal offense history (sexual, non-sexual, or no history) impacted hiring decisions and related employment-related outcomes among 476 volunteers recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk. Participants were randomly assigned to one of six conditions in which they read mock job application materials that varied based on the applicant’s identified race and criminal history. Results revealed no significant main effects of applicant race and no interaction between applicant race and offense history across all employment-related outcomes. However, participants were least likely to endorse hiring the applicant and desired greater social distance (a measure of stigmatizing attitudes) from the applicant if he had a prior sexual offense, even though participants expected him to perform similarly at the job relative to applicants described as having a non-sexual offense. This finding suggests applicants with a known sexual offense history may be more frequently passed up for jobs than other justice-involved applicants for reasons unrelated to the job itself.


Data is provided by the student.”

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access