Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Rehabilitation Counseling Students' Attitudes toward Sex Offenders with Mental Illnesses
by LaCon, Lisa M., Ph.D., Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers School of Health Professions, 2020, 145; 27993141
Abstract (Summary)

This study attempted to compare the attitudes of prospective rehabilitation counselors (PRCs) toward sex offenders with a mental illness to sex offenders without a mental illness, while considering sex offense typology. The Community Attitudes Toward Sex Offenders Scale (CATSO) was used to assess attitudes of 191 students currently enrolled in Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) from four states.

Employment acquisition for people with a history of criminal activity is indispensable (Singer et al., 2013). In fact, being gainfully employed reduces recidivism for formerly incarcerated individuals, including individuals charged with sex crimes (Nally et al., 2014; Singer et al., 2013). In the Nally study, 63% were employed and 45% did not recidivate. Research shows that employment for people with disabilities is an essential component in the rehabilitative process (Bond et al., 2001). Rehabilitation counselors, based on the principles guiding the vocational rehabilitation field, have a responsibility to work with sex offenders with mental illnesses who are seeking employment, according to CACREP standards. In order to provide equitable employment services to sex offenders with mental illnesses, PRCs should consider what their attitudes convey to this alienated and stigmatized population (Singer et al., 2013).

The findings indicated that PRCs did not have a high degree of negative attitudes towards sex offenders. Their attitudes were overall neutral. Second, there were no differences in attitudes based on sex offense typology. Adult offenders were not viewed more negatively than child offenders and vice versa. Third, PRCs who self-identified as being sexually victimized held more positive attitudes toward sex offenders than PRCs who indicated that they were not sexually victimized. Last, there were no differences in PRCs viewing sex offenders with a mental illness more negatively than a sex offender without a mental illness. This research is essential in contributing to a greater understanding of how attitudes toward sex offenders with mental illnesses can either assist or impede the vocational rehabilitation process.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Spagnolo, Amy B.
Commitee: Morris, Mechele, Oursler, Janice, Parrott, James
School: Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers School of Health Professions
Department: Psychiatric Rehab & Counseling Professions
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Counseling Psychology, Mental health, Health education
Keywords: Attitudes, Counseling students, Mental illnesses, Rehabilitation, Sex offenders
Publication Number: 27993141
ISBN: 9798662450677
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