Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Women comedians-Psychology, Women-Psychology, Self-esteem in women, Self-efficacy, Wit and humor-Psychological aspects, Power (Social sciences), Comedy, Humor, Self-esteem, Personal empowerment, Women's groups, Social justice theatre


Offenders under the age of 18 account for 16.7% of arrests or convictions of forcible rapes and 20.61% of other sexual offenses (U.S. Department of Justice: CSOM, 2000). This study attempts to uncover emotional responses to crimes committed by adolescent sex offenders, particularly guilt and shame responses. Researchers have found that, despite their seeming interchangeability, guilt and shame can be considered separate emotional responses. These emotions can lead to differing behaviors and actions, with guilt typically resulting in a more pro-social response. For the purposes of this study, guilt and shame responses of adolescent sex offenders were explored, in comparison to adolescent non-sexual offenders. Guilt and shame responses and level of violence involved in the crimes committed by both groups were also taken into consideration. Multi-paged pencil and paper surveys were collected from adjudicated sexual and non-sexual offenders, with one group (N= 502) assessed for guilt response, and one group (N= 101) assessed for guilt and shame responses. Findings showed that adolescent sex offenders experience higher levels of guilt and shame for their crimes than adolescent non-sex offenders. Guilt response in adolescent sex offenders was also found to be negatively correlated with level of violence of the offenses committed.




iii, 110 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2010. Includes bibliographical references (p. 100-102)