Applied Psychology OPUS

Measurement of Shame among Juvenile Justice-Involved Girls

Laina Sonterblum

Faculty Mentor | Dr. Shabnam Javdani

Doctoral Student Mentor | Corianna Sichel

Girls in the juvenile justice system are likely to recidivate throughout adulthood, with some studies citing recidivism rates as high as 81 percent (Colman et al., 2008). Recent research on Labeling Theory (Becker, 1963; Lemert, 1951) in justice-involved populations suggests that being labeled as a delinquent puts youth at greater risk of future delinquency (Jackson & Hay, 2013; Kavish, Mullins, & Soto, 2014). Braithwaite (1989) suggests that one potential link between labeling and recidivism may be explained through stigmatizing shaming, which takes someone who did a bad thing and labels her as a bad person, potentially leading to a self-fulfilling prophecy of future recidivism (Snyder, Tanke, & Berscheid, 1977). However, this phenomenon is poorly understood, especially as it manifests in gendered contexts such as juvenile justice-involved girls (Javdani, Sadeh, & Verona, 2011). While scholars have called for research addressing the potential relation between shame and recidivating in this population, these efforts are impeded by lack of effective measurement tools (Chesney-Lind & Shelden, 2004; 2014).

The proposed project addresses this gap by systematically developing and selecting items assessing the experiences of shaming and internalization of shame, distributing these items to juvenile justice-involved girls, and analyzing their validity and reliability. In addition to the developed items, girls will complete the Other as Shamer scale (OASS; Goss, Gilbert, & Allan, 1994) and the Pride subscale of the State Shame Guilt-Revised scale (SSGS-R; Marschall et al., 1994) to use as validation measures. The most valid and reliable items (a > .7) will be considered for inclusion in the final scale. Additionally, participants will complete the Youth Self Report (YSR; Achenbach, 1991), to measure the outcome variable, externalizing behaviors, a significant predictor of recidivism (McReynolds et al., 2010).  Limitations, implications, and future directions are discussed.