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Victim-offender mediation and the self-selection bias: Examining a multi-dimensional model to explain offenders’ willingness to participate

Mehlan, P. (2019) Victim-offender mediation and the self-selection bias: Examining a multi-dimensional model to explain offenders’ willingness to participate.

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Abstract:Background: Victim-offender mediation (VOM) is a reliable and successful restorative justice solution. However, the offender’s side is underrepresented in scientific discourse and, therefore, not a lot is known about potential factors which influence offender participation. Chances are that offenders who are willing to participate in VOM differ from those that do not want to take part. If a self-selection bias were to be found, this would mean that the effects of VOM, such as the reduction in recidivism rates may not be due to the intervention. Motivated by this, this study aimed to investigate whether atypicality existed among offenders. More specifically, whether certain offenders are better at perspective taking and are, thus, more willing to participate in VOM. Further, it was investigated whether this relationship was moderated by the context in which VOM is offered and mediated by an offender’s proneness to experience guilt or take responsibility for the crime. Methods: A convenience sample of 136 individuals was derived. Participants filled out an online survey in which they were randomly assigned to one of four conditions. In each condition, participants were asked to read two scenarios which differed regarding the crime’s severity (low/high) and in which context VOM was offered (apart from legal proceedings/part of them). The crime manipulation entailed a scenario which asked participants to imagine themselves as the offenders of the crime. The manipulation was included in order to be able to compare groups of offenders; testing them for atypicality. After, the scenarios, participants answered questions concerning the investigated constructs. Results: Statistical analyses revealed that perspective taking was a predictor of the willingness of an offender to participate in VOM. However, the context in which VOM was offered did not interact with that relationship. Moreover, guilt-proneness and responsibility taking were found to mediate the relationship of perspective taking and willingness to participate. Conclusion: This study was the first attempt to explore differences in offender populations. It was shown that more serious offenders were worse in perspective taking, took less responsibility and felt less guilty. Even though a difference in willingness to participate was not found, offenders were atypical regarding the aforementioned factors.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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