Graduation Term


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Criminal Justice Sciences

Committee Chair

Jessie Krienert


While there is a plethora of research exploring how registered sex offenders are negatively affected by the registry, little research has examined how the consequences of the registry affect their family members. More specifically, the mothers of registrants have received even less study even though mothers typically receive blame for their child’s outcomes - including delinquency and criminality. The current paper examines if, and how, the mothers of registrants experience courtesy stigmatization from their child’s arrest and conviction along with how that affects their personal relationships, finances, and mental health. The study utilizes a mixed-methods research design, as 178 women’s survey responses were analyzed quantitatively and 30 women’s interviews were analyzed qualitatively. The quantitative findings indicate that the mothers of registrants experience moderate to high levels of discrimination along with notable levels of depression and anxiety due to their child’s status as a sex offender. Qualitatively, the results show that the mothers of registrants experience a range of collateral consequences stemming from their child’s arrest and conviction. Policy implications relating to these findings and recommendations for future study are provided as well.


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