The Criminal Self-View: How Do Identity Discrepancies Affect Emotions and Projected Conformity Among Offenders?


Research indicates that mismatches between individuals’ identity standards and how they perceive others view them, or reflected appraisals (RAs), produce distress that individuals may attempt to alleviate by altering their behavior so as to achieve identity verification. While there has been a recent interest in understanding how individuals negotiate a criminal identity, little research has been conducted in naturalistic settings based on specific experiences and feedback received from others. We assess how discrepancies between one's criminal self-view and RAs affect negative emotions and projected conformity after individuals are processed in the criminal justice system. Using a sample of 973 participants in the Australian Reintegrative Shaming Experiments, we find that discrepancies between criminal identities and RAs affect the amount of shame/guilt and embarrassment experienced by offenders and their projected conformity and that embarrassment mediates this relationship.

Publication Title

Sociological Inquiry