A Longitudinal Model of Internalized Stigma, Coping, and Post-release Adjustment in Criminal Offenders




Moore, Kelly Elizabeth

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Upon conviction and incarceration, individuals receive the stigmatizing label “criminal offender.” Criminal offenders are exposed to stigma after being released from jail or prison, with laws that marginalize them from community participation (Pogorzelski et al., 2005) as well as stereotypes/discrimination from community members (Hirschfield & Piquero, 2010). One consequence of this experience is that stereotypes about criminal offenders may be internalized and integrated into the self-concept, a phenomenon known as self- or internalized stigma. In various stigmatized groups, internalized stigma predicts more mental health problems (Livingston & Boyd, 2010), longer duration of alcohol dependence (Schomerus et al., 2011), and poor occupational functioning (Yanos, Lysaker, & Roe, 2010). It is likely that internalized stigma occurs in criminal offenders and impacts their functioning, but this has yet to be examined. Drawing upon a sample of 111 jail inmates, two studies were conducted to examine a comprehensive model of internalized stigma and its relation to subsequent behavioral problems in the understudied population of criminal offenders.



Psychology, Community adjustment, Criminal offenders, Internalized stigma, Longitudinal, Social withdrawal