Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology

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Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 30
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    Charismatic Leaders of Destructive Religious Cults: An Examination into the Unidentified Culprits of Sexual Homicide
    (2020-05) Bishop, Brianna Nicole
    Empirical research on destructive religious cults is severely limited, specifically with regard to the existence of a possible universal motivation for cultic violence. The widespread acceptance of individualized motivations for cultic violence (e.g., Manson’s Helter Skelter philosophy), however, negates the existence of striking similarities between characteristics — both offense and offender — of cultic violence and sexual homicide. The current study, in an attempt to examine the motivational implications of such striking similarities, utilized archival data to investigate the presence of 16 commonly-identified characteristics of sexual homicide within a singular case study — Charles Manson and the Manson Family. Results indicated that Charles Manson exhibited all of the commonly-identified offender characteristics of sexual homicide, while the Manson Family (and, the resultant Tate/LaBianca murders) exhibited 93.7 percent of the commonly-identified offense characteristics of sexual homicide. These findings suggest that the Tate/LaBianca murders were the product of Manson’s sexually-related fantasies, as well as the willingness of the Manson Family to execute these fantasies by proxy. Despite the limited generalizability of these findings — as a result of a limited sample size, as well as the use of strictly secondary sources (i.e., biographies) —, Charles Manson emphasizes the possibility that cultic violence exhibits an underlying sexual motivation; further research should, therefore, continue to examine this possibility within additional destructive religious cults (e.g., Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple).
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    (2019-05) Venezia, Kylie N.
    Psychopathy exists in all cultures, socioeconomic statuses, races, genders, and ethnic groups. A psychopath, usually criminal, but not always so, forms an image of a callous, self-centered, and remorseless individual deeply lacking in empathy and the ability to form warm relationships with others (Hare, 1993). Currently, psychopathy is treated as a single construct; however, research has illuminated numerous variants within the disorder and comorbidities of other disorders that must not be overlooked (Thompson et al., 2014). In order to attain complete understanding of the disorder, all features and traits must be recognized. In addition, intervention and treatment programs for psychopathic individuals are classically not effective. Psychopathic individuals seldom seek help unless it is legally mandated. For these reasons, it is essential that more research be completed in order to determine novel treatment and intervention strategies in order to combat this issue. The present study contributes to the previous research regarding psychopathy and offers new and innovative recommendations regarding treatment plans that address each variant of the psychopathic personality. In an effort to treat each person individually, while considering their unique traits, behavioral patterns, and comorbidities, this study also considers potential biases that individuals with a diagnosis of psychopathy may be subject to. The findings expand the current knowledge of psychopathy and allow potential growth in the field of treatment.
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    (2020-05) Gutierrez, Brianna Rose
    This project aimed to study the perceptions of criminal justice college students on the likelihood that female officers would engage in a romantic relationship with an inmate. A 3 (marital status: divorced, married, and single) x 3 (behavior type: commenting on physical appearance, divulging personal information, and gift-giving) factorial analysis of variance was conducted to examine perceptions that the officer would engage in a romantic relationship with the male inmate. Results revealed a between-subjects effect for perceptions of behavior type on the likelihood that a female officer would engage in a romantic relationship with an inmate. In a multiple comparisons test, Bonferroni revealed a mean difference for behavior type, but only between the divulging of personal information and gift-giving conditions. It was perceived that female officers who engaged in gift-giving were more likely to participate in a romantic relationship with a male inmate than female officers who divulged personal information. No main effect was found for marital status. No interaction effect was found for marital status and behavior type. Results are discussed in light of the existing empirical literature.
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    (2020-12) Boice, Ashley Shier
    The current exploratory study of juvenile serial homicide offender characteristics identified possible risk factors for antisocial behavior and provided descriptions of the offenders and the crimes. Literature pertaining to psychopathy, clinical diagnoses, severe antisocial behavior risk factors, and serial homicide offenders were reviewed. The research involved an analysis of the 2004 United States Survey of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities pre-coded data for all juvenile serial homicide offenders (n = 11) and juvenile homicide offenders who committed only one homicide (n = 174). Descriptive and bivariate analyses were conducted to compare juvenile serial homicide offenders (JSHOs) and juvenile single-time homicide offenders (JSTHOs). Prior violent offenses, the offender’s age at the time of their first homicide, education level, whether they had been fired in the last year due to substance use issues, and their victims’ sex showed significant differences between JSHOs and JSTHOs. Binary logistic regression analyses were conducted, however no factors predicted JSHO group membership. These crimes are extremely rare and their perpetrators even more so; future research is encouraged.
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    (2017-05) Gernes, Joshua Joseph
    The purpose of this study is to understand how two separate juveniles that were raised in completely dissimilar styles could both become killers. Considering CU traits and biopsychosocial factors of both subjects to see how much of each played a role. Previous research on CU traits, biopsychosocial factors, biological factors, and factors on juvenile delinquency. A document analysis was done on interviews of both subjects to determine if CU, biopsychosocial played a role in their forming of becoming a killer. The Document analysis showed significant levels of CU traits and biopsychosocial factors that contributed to both subjects becoming killers.
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    (2017-05) Cetina, April
    Given the recent high profile suicides among NFL football players, an interest in the role of closed head injuries in these deaths has ensued. Utilizing archival data, a historical analysis was conducted to test the hypothesis that executive function may have been damaged due to traumatic brain injury incurred while playing football. The findings support that damage to the frontal lobe appears to influence a major change in NFL players.
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    (2017-05) Anyiwo, Amaka R.
    This thesis provides a comprehensive review of literature on the public’s perception of sexual relationships between teachers and their students. It was hypothesized that there would be a difference in opinion of the appropriateness of sexual relationships between teachers and students when considered by different age groups. Secondly, it was hypothesized that religious beliefs are influences that contribute to how an individual perceives the relationship. Thirdly, it was hypothesized that perceptions of the relationships will change if the initiator of the relationship changed. Lastly, it was hypothesized that media coverage has an impact on how the public views sexual relationships between teachers and their students. A factorial analysis of variance was conducted to determine if certain groups vary in their opinions and if those opinions change across ages varied for teacher and student. Among the participants that were given a child in middle school and high school, the perception of those students having relationships with their teachers was negative. Among the participants that were given college and graduate school students the participants varied slightly in favor of saying that such a relationship was acceptable. Most participants mentioned that they have not been affected by media coverage to which they were exposed. They have, however, found media coverage informative and educational relative to the severity of the situation.
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    A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: Decoding the Language of a Psychopath
    (2017-05) Anderson, Kerri
    Prior research conducted by Hancock, Woodworth and Porter (2011) revealed psychopathic language was substantially more dis-fluent than that of their non-psychopathic counterparts. Using more words such as “because,” “since,” "as" and “so that,” when recounting their violence. Psychopathy and individuals with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) demonstrate overlaps in their symptomatology. Utilizing qualitative content analysis research method this research took it one step further and looked at the history of three know serial sex offenders diagnosed with psychopathy, Richard Ramirez, Dennis Rader, and Westley Allan Dodd, whom all suffered from head trauma, to find the bridge between speech dis-fluencies and TBI interrelated them as a causal factor to psychopathy. The main results were that (a) speech disfluencies are caused by a neurological deficit and are not a means of deception tactics (b) there is a biological basis to psychopathy (c) there is a neurological basis to psychopathy (d) speech disfluencies are caused by TBI’s and ASD (e) traumatic brain injuries are tied to psychopathy and (f) ASD is linked to psychopathy.
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    Public's Perception of Stalking: Victim-Perpetrator Relationship
    (2018-05) Sainz, Ysmara Haydee
    Stalking has been a pervasive behavioral pattern that disrupts the lives of many. Previous researchers have examined factors that can predict the occurrence of stalking in victim-perpetrator relationships while simultaneously examining stalking type. Domestic violence and psychopathology have been possible predictors to stalking. A vignette survey examines the public’s perception of stalking within former lover, acquaintance, and stranger relationship. A 3x3 factorial MANOVA examined the effects of relationship and type of stalking to danger, violence, and safety. Results demonstrate an interaction effect between former intimate, stalking type of following and perceptions of violence and threat to safety. These findings suggest that prevention programs need to educate communities on domestic violence in intimate relationships and stalking.
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    A Review of California Legislation and Its Effect on the Disparate Impact in Male Prisons
    (2018-05) Freatman, Valerie
    The United States of America has been known as a melting pot-where equality is hailed among the most sacred of doctrines and is written into the foundational documents of the society. When examining California’s prison system, however, there appears to be large racial disparities and widespread discrimination within the judicial system and a disparate impact on minorities. California’s legislation has consistently and disparately imprisoned minorities for charges while white populations only receive a warning for the same crime. This study reviewed the past 30 years of California legislation regarding substance abuse and highlighted the disparities in the prison system, as well as the effect of imprisonment on inmates over time. This examination revealed California’s legislation has negatively impacted minorities through disproportionate imprisonment, which lead to further social ostracism and the development of mental disorders.
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    (2018-05) Ordonez, Gabrielle
    Psychopathy is a personality disorder that is characterized by a failure to inhibit impulsive behavior and emotional deficits in personality. Previous literature has depicted psychopathy as an untreatable personality disorder stemming from Cleckley’s research, case studies, and literature such as The Mask of Sanity indicating that psychopaths do not experience neurotic symptoms such as anxiety, depression, or any other disorders that contain an abundance of emotions or “feelings”. Due to Cleckley’s research and case studies proving less concise in determining that psychopaths do not experience anxiety, there is room for interpretation in regards to how psychopaths experience neurotic manifestations such as anxiety and the intensity, duration, and motivation behind it; stemming from anticipatory anxiety and persisting throughout premeditation methods, various crimes, and continuing in a cycle. Through the use of case studies, interviews, and archival data from different infamous serial offenders such as John Wayne Gacy, Westley Allan Dodd, and Edmund Kemper, psychopathic traits and premeditation methods in regards to anxiety are examined. An anxiety and psychopathy checklist was created to determine what symptoms that appear psychopathic may coincide with anxiety and to exemplify how anxiety symptoms may be exhibited differently in psychopaths.
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    Public Perceptions of Female Sex Offenders Through Media Word Usage and Media Outlet Comments
    (2018-05) Stutz, Jaimee
    A lack of research currently exists on the public perception of female sex offenders and the implications this societal view may have for the future of female sex offender research and understanding. This study aims to explore the public perception of female sex offenders by examining multiple different online news outlet sites. News articles from Reddit, Penn Live, CBC News, SF Gate The New York Post, The East Bay Times, Arkansas Online News, The Sun U.K., Mercury News, 13 WHO TV Channel 13 News, and Fox News were located by searching keywords in the Google search engine. Using a qualitative coding method, 932 comments were collected and analyzed for their theme or subject matter. Six themes were uncovered from comments: sexualization of the offender, victim shaming/blaming, insensitive humor, double standards, victim gender, and denunciation of the offender. The results of the study confirm the initial hypothesis that the public expresses misunderstandings about female sex offenders through a high volume of victim shame/blame comments.
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    A Criminal Justice Student's Perception on the Influences of Juvenile Delinquency
    (2018-05) Korras, Amber Leigh
    The factors that put adolescents at risk of becoming juvenile delinquents never cease. However, the frequency of those factors could affect their ability to progress in the programs provided by probation departments. In this study, undergraduate Criminal Justice majors from California Baptist University were surveyed regarding their perceptions of the frequency of a list of risk factors in a juvenile delinquent’s life and their perception on how these factors affect a juvenile’s ability to progress in probation programs. The risk factors that were tested include: negative interactions with parents, violence in the home, living in a violent neighborhood, low socioeconomic status, mental illness, poor academic performance, and low IQ. It was hypothesized that the more frequent a risk factor was present in a juvenile’s life, the more it would hinder their progress in probation programs. The Pearson Product-Moment Correlation analysis was used to examine the relationship between the perceptions of frequency and progress. The results showed a statistically significant main effect in the correlation between the perceptions that an increased frequency of poor academic performance hinders a juvenile delinquent’s ability to progress in a probation program. Two Independent Samples T-tests were conducted to assess for any gender differences. Significantly more male participants than female participants perceived poor academic performance and low socioeconomic status were experienced at a higher frequency. This study was conducted in hopes of aiding in the adjustment of probation programs to better help a juvenile be rehabilitated, developing an educational expansion for undergraduate Criminal Justice students on the problems faced by those who are effected by the future workforce, and supporting the further research on this topic.
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    Resiliency Factors Among Youth
    (2018-05) Reyes, Lindsey Marie
    The psychological outcomes of children who experience adverse life events can include critical developmental impairments such as adopting maladaptive coping skills, conforming behaviors according to the behaviors of others, inappropriately responding to social cues, and even becoming perpetrators of the same maltreatment that was committed against them as children. Under similar circumstances, studies have found that some children do not display such patterns; these children are capable of resisting the temptations of associating with delinquent social groups and demonstrate resilient characteristics such as impulse control, strong problem-solving and socialization skills, and provide themselves with an abundance of supportive resources that assist in their recovery. Utilizing a case study design in which a triangulation of three sources was gathered, the common characteristics among adolescent youth who appeared to be resilient towards an adverse life event(s) was evaluated. First, a 25 item Likert-type survey was administered to assess the participants’ initial responses to questions about resiliency factors. Then, semi-structured interviews were conducted with a set of five open-ended questions. Finally, a journal was given to each participant and the participants were prompted to answer four open-ended questions. All three sources of information were analyzed and coded for themes between each participant’s written, verbal, and survey responses in order to categorize the key elements. This study was able to identify common characteristics amongst adolescents who showed resilience after adverse life events. It was found that psychological treatment was extremely beneficial to an adolescent youth’s psychological healing and increased his or her chances of obtaining resilience towards adversity compared to those who did not.
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    (2018-05) Johnson, Tia
    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is one of the most common disabling disorders present among returning military personnel, especially those in combat. Many veterans will not receive treatment for PTSD due to the stigma and lack of understanding from the community and their family. Without the proper education and coping skills, one could turn to substance abuse or suicidality. More recently it has been reported that there is an association between veterans with PTSD and criminal or aggressive behavior; to what extent, the results have varied. This is accompanied by an alarming rate of incarcerated veterans. Therefore, it is important to bridge the gap between veterans with PTSD and criminal or aggressive behavior to construct effective intervention and treatment programs. A Meta-Analysis was conducted on studies that evaluated Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF), Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), and Operation New Dawn (OND) military veterans diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and the prevalence of their involvement in the criminal justice system. The studies contained in the analysis were published from January 2007 to November 2017 with participants who are former military. The review supported previous research in that there is an increased rate of violence and aggression among veterans with PTSD.
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    (2018-05) Howard, Randall Me'chele
    The state of communities in which African-American males live may be a crucial contributor to the inflated measures of criminality in urban areas. Crime and mortality rates are a serious epidemic among African-American men in the United States. After thoroughly examining the effects of historical trauma and social disorganization theory, the results acknowledged that the effects of historical trauma point out why there is a high rate of criminality, including homicides within urban areas. The effects of historical trauma include neighborhood disadvantage, environmental instability, low socioeconomic status, academic underachievement, and lack of parental monitoring. This study exhausts the existing literature that has established the evidence that historical trauma and social disorganization explains various crimes within disadvantaged neighborhoods. These findings add essential awareness, construct understanding, and assist with creating prevention and intervention models that will effectively address the issues of mortality and criminality within this population.
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    (2018-05) Brown, Shannon Lee
    This study explored the tripartite relationship between terrorism, tourism, and the media in modern society today. Previous research suggested the tourism industry suffers when terrorist activity negatively impacts tourist perceptions, most commonly via news outlets (Baker 2014). Extending this research, the present study examined if regions associated with terrorism and its related media coverage influence individuals’ travel behavior. In order to untangle this relationship, 150 individuals in Riverside County answered survey questions about their travel behaviors.
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    (2017-05) Garcia, Adriana Mabel
    Burnout has been found to be a widespread occurrence throughout all workplace environments. Although research regarding burnout does exist, there is limited research focusing on direct patient-care staff working with forensic populations. A quantitative research design was developed to assess burnout levels among 100 direct patient-care staff serving a forensic population. An independent samples t-test was conducted to examine gender differences for total burnout scores. It was hypothesized that females would report higher levels of burnout in comparison to male counterparts. Results revealed a significant between group difference by gender. A linear regression was conducted to examine the extent to which years of employment predicted burnout. It was hypothesized that longer length of employment would predict higher levels of burnout. Results were not statistically significant. A one-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) was conducted to examine gender differences in anger, frustration, and emotional drain related to the work environment. It was hypothesized that males would report more anger in comparison to females, whereas, females would report higher levels of emotional drain and frustration in comparison to male counterparts. Results were not significant. Burnout affects all professionals across all work place. For this reason, it is important to take necessary precautions within all work environments.
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    Psychopathy and Narcoterrorism: A Comparative Historical Analysis of Pablo Escobar and "El Chapo" Guzman
    (2017-05) Rollins, Mikael Cabriales
    This study analyzes the psychosocial aspects of narcoterrorism reflected by two of the most notorious drug lords in recent Columbian and Mexican history: Pablo Escobar and Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman. It questions whether the psychological factors which influenced and shaped their criminal identities are, in fact, based entirely on psychoanalytic theory (narcissism, borderline personality, etc.) or if they are also products of cultural ideology. This research examines the social and political concept of “narcoculture” as the main premise to view the context in which criminal psychopathy may be fostered and developed. As part of a historical analysis of the narcoculture phenomenon, Escobar and “El Chapo" will be analyzed, diagnosed and compared in order to clarify the psychological and cultural parallels that reflect a distinct psychological profile. By referencing psychological, social, political, and cultural studies, the aim of this project is to reveal specific psychological characteristics as correlates of extreme and violent criminal behavior.