This project imports social-personality theory and research on moral emotions and cognitions to the applied problems of crime, substance abuse, and HIV risk behavior. The primary aims are to better understand the role of moral emotions (i.e., shame, guilt and empathy) and moral cognitions (i.e., criminogenic beliefs) in the lives of currently and recently incarcerated offenders, and to develop effective culturally sensitive jail-based interventions targeting these theoretically specified mechanisms of actions (MOAs) to reduce post-release substance use, HIV risk, and recidivism and to enhance offenders'reintegration into the community. Funding is requested to support 4 initiatives: (1) Complete 1 and 4 year post-release interviews of Study 1, a basic research prospective study of moral emotions and cognitions of 508 serious offenders first assessed shortly upon entry to a county jail, and extend the study with 7 and 10 year post-release follow-up interviews;(2) Complete initial phases of Study 2, a Phase II Randomized Clinical Trial (RCT) of the restorative justice-inspired Impact of Crime (IOC) group intervention of 200 jail inmates nearing release into the community, focusing on moral emotions and cognitions as MOAs, and extending this longitudinal study with 3 and 5 year post-release assessments;(3) "Dismantle" the IOC intervention into shorter term modules, and conduct a Phase 1b RCT evaluation to identify its most active components, tailored for pre-trial and pre-sentencing inmates, the most transient subpopulation of jail inmates, in a form that is "setting friendly" responding to the unique constraints of the jail environment;(4) Complete a Phase Ib RCT of a brief manualized "shame-reducing" group intervention for inmates with Substance Use Disorders.
The aims of Studies 2, 3 and 4 are to develop treatments tailored to the unique needs of jail inmates and the constraints of jail settings, drawing on results of Study 1. Each year, 7.6 million inmates are released from correctional facilities - with most (7 million) released from jails, not prisons. Yet most treatment - and indeed most treatment research - occurs in prisons, not jails. Unlike prisons typically situated in distant rural areas, jails are located in the heart of communities facilitating post-release planning, family re-unification, continuity of care, etc. Although seriously underutilized, our nation's jails offer an ideal window of opportunity for timely intervention with a large high-risk, multi- need population. Taken together, the proposed project is designed to help fill this gap, developing theory-based empirically supported treatments for jail inmates, capitalizing on cutting edge social psychological research on moral emotions and moral cognitions, and utilizing innovative technologies for assessment to assist treatment providers.

Public Health Relevance

The aim is to reduce several heavy burdens on society - the burden of mental illness (especially antisocial personality disorder), the burden of substance dependence, the burden of HIV infection, and the burden of crime - via interventions tailored to meet the needs of jail inmates nearing re-entry into the community.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
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Social Psychology, Personality and Interpersonal Processes Study Section (SPIP)
Program Officer
Aklin, Will
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George Mason University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Stuewig, Jeffrey; Tangney, June P; Kendall, Stephanie et al. (2015) Children's proneness to shame and guilt predict risky and illegal behaviors in young adulthood. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev 46:217-27
Malouf, Elizabeth T; Schaefer, Karen E; Witt, Edward A et al. (2014) The brief self-control scale predicts jail inmates' recidivism, substance dependence, and post-release adjustment. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 40:334-47
Adams, Leah M; Stuewig, Jeffrey B; Tangney, June P et al. (2014) Perceived susceptibility to AIDS predicts subsequent HIV risk: a longitudinal evaluation of jail inmates. J Behav Med 37:511-23
Martinez, Andres G; Stuewig, Jeffrey; Tangney, June P (2014) Can perspective-taking reduce crime? Examining a pathway through empathic-concern and guilt-proneness. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 40:1659-67
Tangney, June P; Stuewig, Jeffrey; Martinez, Andres G (2014) Two faces of shame: the roles of shame and guilt in predicting recidivism. Psychol Sci 25:799-805
Hastings, Mark E; Krishnan, Shilpa; Tangney, June P et al. (2011) Predictive and incremental validity of the Violence Risk Appraisal Guide scores with male and female jail inmates. Psychol Assess 23:174-83
Tangney, June P; Stuewig, Jeffrey; Mashek, Debra et al. (2011) Assessing Jail Inmates' Proneness to Shame and Guilt: Feeling Bad About the Behavior or the Self? Crim Justice Behav 38:710-734
Harty, Laura; Duckworth, Rebecca; Thompson, Aaron et al. (2010) Are inmates' subjective sleep problems associated with borderline personality, psychopathy, and antisocial personality independent of depression and substance dependence? J Forens Psychiatry Psychol 21:23-39
Heigel, Caron P; Stuewig, Jeffrey; Tangney, June P (2010) Self-reported physical health of inmates: impact of incarceration and relation to optimism. J Correct Health Care 16:106-16
Stuewig, Jeffrey; Tangney, June P; Heigel, Caron et al. (2010) Shaming, Blaming, and Maiming: Functional Links Among the Moral Emotions, Externalization of Blame, and Aggression. J Res Pers 44:91-102

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