Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Psy.D. Doctor of Clinical Psychology

Academic Discipline

Clinical Psychology

First Advisor

Sandra Zakowski, PhD

Second Advisor

Kristen Carney-Newberry, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Margarete Ronnett, Psy.D.


Public perception of crime is an important focus of research, especially when considering juvenile offenders. However, there is very limited research in this area. This study looked at how the public perceives crime seriousness and how race of the juvenile offender impacts the overall seriousness rating. An online survey that included 15 crime scenarios was completed by 176 participants. It was hypothesized that a crime would be rated as more severe when the juvenile offender is African American as compared to a Caucasian juvenile offender. Results found that participants overall rated the seriousness of offenses as significantly higher for Caucasian offenders than for African American offenders.