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Do Emotions Play a Role in Young Offenders’ Suitability for Diversion to Victim-Offender Mediation?

Vieira, Tracey A
June 4, 2015

Source: (2003) M.A. thesis, Department of Human Development and Applied Psychology, Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, University of Toronto, Canada.

The arousal of state shame and guilt following diversion to victim-offender mediation (VOM) or traditional alternative measures (AM) was evaluated within a sample of youths (N=32). The relationships between this emotional arousal, shame or guilt proneness, empathic orientation, and victim presence during sanctioning were also explored. Finally, an investigation of whether these individual emotional characteristics predict short-term, prosocial outcomes (i.e., satisfaction, positive attitude) was conducted. State guilt was significantly aroused among offenders diverted to VOM, however, only when a victim representative rather than the victim participated in mediation. Regression analyses demonstrated that pre-sanction guilt levels and cognitive empathic orientation significantly predicted the magnitude of guilt arousal, and in turn, guilt arousal predicted greater post-program satisfaction and positive attitude. These findings conflict with the perspective that shame arousal underlies the success of VOM and indicate a need for attention to how mediation differs according to victim versus victim representative involvement. Author’s abstract.


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