Stigma and self-disclosure in interpersonal relationships of registered sex offenders

Samantha Dena, University of Texas at El Paso


The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act and its amendment, Megan's Law, have developed notification protocols that give public access to information about sex offenders in communities. For offenders that fall under these policies, the ways in which they communicate and maintain interpersonal relationships has been affected by the knowledge of their status. Pursuant of the symbolic interactionist view that individuals take action towards things based on the meanings they create from them, registered sex offenders were asked whether they reveal their status to others, how it is revealed, and how interpersonal relationships are affected by the disclosure of their status. Four recurrent themes, awareness, sacrifice, comfort zone, and monster were identified in interviews with registered sex offenders.

Subject Area

Communication|Families & family life|Personal relationships|Sociology

Recommended Citation

Dena, Samantha, "Stigma and self-disclosure in interpersonal relationships of registered sex offenders" (2005). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1430931.