Projects

A Bayesian Approach to Determining Factors Influencing Emotional Distress Damage Awards in Sexual Harassment Cases

Juror decision-making in civil litigation has been a growing area of interest and concern to researchers in psychology and law. Despite the growing number of research studies and commentary in the area, there is a paucity of research on the factors that influence the awarding of damages (Robbennolt & Studebaker, 1999), especially for claims of emotional distress. Most research in this area employs frequentist, regression family or ANOVA analyses. However, the characteristics of the data are not well suited to such analyses, given its wide variability and lack of normality. The equivocal results of most of the research in this area, is due, in large part, to these factors. A more sophisticated way of examining the data is Bayesian Analysis. In the highly variable realm of damage awards, these analyses enable the researcher to conclude that a given variable has a certain percent chance of having a given effect. The purpose of the present study is to explore factors that might influence damage awards for psychological injuries in a specific context; sexual harassment litigation using Bayesian Analyses.

Using the J-SOAP-II to Predict Institutional Sexual Misconduct among Juvenile Sexual Offenders

Compared to adult sexual offenders, recidivism for juvenile sexual offenders is relatively low. Given this, it is critical that risk assessments accurately discern juveniles who are high-risk to sexually reoffend. In determining risk, juveniles who continue to engage in illegal sexual behavior despite the consequences are at higher risk of continuing this behavior into adulthood. The purpose of the present study is to assess the risk to sexually reoffend, using the Juvenile Sex Offender Protocol-II (J-SOAP-II), in a male juvenile sexual offender population upon entry to a residential treatment program. The Alabama Department of Youth Services reports of institutional sexual misconduct will be used to evaluate the predictive validity of the J-SOAP-II in the identification of high-risk juveniles. Implications of these findings to the assessment of risk in this population will be explored.