ABOUT ME

I am a Social Psychological Criminologist. Most often, I study and teach about the social psychological aspects of deviant behavior.


There are many areas to this website covering all of my academic interests and activities. This e-Portfolio is also a part of the RobVox.com Webring.

Education

Magna Cum Laude Double Major Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and Sociology
2004
Masters of Science in Sociology
2008
Doctor of Philosophy in Sociological Social Psychology | Emphasis: Criminology
2014
Master of Social Work
2020

BIO

I am an Assistant Professor of
Sociology at Weber State University.

EDUCATION

I earned my PhD in the Department of Sociology at Purdue University. I also did graduate coursework at Indiana University, Bloomington.

I study Sociological Social Psychology and the implications of Social Psych on crime and deviance. My PhD examined the efficacy of social intervention for children impacted by parental incarceration, LINK 1 & LINK 2. I also completed my M.S. at Purdue University, my thesis integrated emotion within Identity Theory. My B.S. was taken from Weber State University, Ogden UT. My undergraduate studies consisted of a double major in Sociology and Criminal Justice. I graduated Magna Cum Laude, receiving high departmental honors and distinction from both the Sociology and Criminal Justice departments. My undergraduate honors thesis looked at the use of humor to preserve gender (particularly female) stereotypes.

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RESEARCH

My substantive interests are strongly shaped by the epistemology of social psychology. Criminologically, my work examines how self processes shape deviant behavior.

My research is developmental in nature, considering life-course trajectories of delinquent behaviors. Typically, I conduct longitudinal quantitative analyses of the social psychological factors influencing crime and criminality. I also incorporate mixed methods into my work by including in-depth interviews of those being tracked across panel waves.

My work on the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning also incorporates social psychological variables. For example, one of my ongoing projects looks at the role self-efficacy and identity plays as a predictor of college students' behaviors. For more on this please visit the 'Research' area of this site.

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TEACHING

My theoretical interests are in the social aspects of self & identity and the social psychological aspects of deviant behavior.

As a Sociologist I approach Social Psychology from a Symbolic Interaction (SI) tradition beginning with Weber's notion of verstehen. Following Weber, I trace my focus through the nineteenth century pragmatist movement, and specifically the Chicago school contributions to George Herbert Mead. SI views of deviance focus on socialization, meanings (including labels), roles, and identities.

There is a great deal more work needed for the Social Psychology of deviant, delinquent, and criminal behavior to have an equal setting at the table with learning theories or self- social control theories of behavior. I hope to be a part of this contribution (see Heimer and Matsueda for examples).

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“...when different experiments give you the same result, it is no longer subject to your opinion. That’s the good thing about science: It’s true whether or not you believe in it. That’s why it works.”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson speaking to Stephen Colbert

JOURNAL ARTICLES

Three most recent peer-reviewed articles
The Value of Social Control: Racial Resentment, Punitiveness and White Support for Spending on Law Enforcement
In Press at Sociological Perspectives (2020)

A well-established body of research demonstrates a linkage between white racial attitudes and support for punitive criminal justice policy. Punitive value orientations have also been linked to support for police use of force. This study examines racial attitudes supporting increased spending on law enforcement; punitive value orientations get measured in nationally representative GSS and UCR data matched using GEO codes to control for local crime. Findings indicate that, net of a host of other factors, a punitive value orientation interacts with racial resentment to predict support for increased spending on law enforcement. Analysis also indicates that these associations strengthened between 2012 and 2014, suggesting that recent high-profile shootings and the subsequent mobilization of racial justice movements like Black Lives Matter may have further racialized support for law enforcement. Implications for further study of race and criminal justice policy get discussed with suggestions for dealing with the future of identity-based politics.

Keywords: Race, Crime, Police, Values, Identity, Politics

Self-Control as Criminogenic Need: A Longitudinal Test of Social Intervention to Improve Self-Control
Criminology, Criminal Justice, Law & Society (20)1: 13-34

The rationale inspiring treatment for anti -social behavior is rooted in a sociogenic understanding of behavior. Community based mentoring programs begin with this assumption. This study addresses the theoretical debate between psychogeni c and sociogenic arguments of anti -social behavior. The psychogenic arguments defining self -control found in the general theory of crime get compared to the sociogenic assumptions of social control theory. This paper frames self - and social control as two sides of the same social psychological coin, suggesting that key value -identities represent the core of self - control. A year of panel data were gathered from 173 children participating in a community -based mentoring program. Of key interest, this study pro vides an analysis of children facing acute risk for anti -social outcomes, including a group of children impacted by parental incarceration. Results find that self -control varies along different trajectories for different children across a year of social in tervention, questioning the relative stability assumption in self -control theory. Children unimpacted by parental incarceration experience increases in self -control across a year of mentoring while children impacted by parental incarceration experience declines in self -control. Results suggest that social intervention programs serving children at - risk for intergenerational crime need to take a cue from clinical treatment models targeting criminogenic needs.

Keywords: self -control, social control, criminogenic need, social psychology, social intervention, values

Mitigating the Effects of Parental Incarceration through Social Intervention: A Longitudinal and Comparative Analysis of the Efficacy of Big Brothers Big Sisters
Journal of Applied Social Science 11(1): 25-47

This study addresses two central research questions: (1) are children with incarcerated parents (CIP) more deviant than nonimpacted peers and (2) is a regional mentoring social intervention program effective for CIP? Two sources of data were used, longitudinal data gathered from 173 children involved with a regional branch of Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) and a sample of children from the Fragile Families (FF) and Child Wellbeing Study. Based on the BBBS data, results find that CIP were more deviant than nonimpacted peers. Unexpectedly, children involved with BBBS reported more deviance after a year of social intervention, compared with children from FF.

Keywords: Self, identity, social intervention, mentoring

% of students reporting that:

"I respect this instructor as a source of information in the field."
100%
"The instructor's explanations and/or demonstrations were clear."
90%
"The instructor provided helpful feedback on graded assignments."
93%