Date of Award

Spring 2014

First Advisor

John H. Yost


The effect of the gender, personality traits, attitudes towards violence, and tolerance of ambiguity of an individual, as well as the offender's familial role on the punishment, sentencing, and parole of an offender was examined. College students were asked to read one of two criminal scenarios: with the offender being the sole caretaker for her family, or with another caretaker present, and then punish, sentence, and determine parole of the offender in the scenarios based on the crime presented. Offenders who were the sole caretakers of their family received less harsh punishments and sentences that offenders who had other caretakers present. They were also more likely to receive parole. Attitude towards violence and tolerance of ambiguity were not significant indicators of sentencing. Females and males differed in attitudes toward violence of war with males being more favorable to violence in war. However, males and females did not differ in sentencing. These findings suggest that being a sole caretaker decreases an offender's sentence. However, future research needs to be conducted on a more diverse sample to determine the effects of gender, authoritarian views, and one's attitude towards violence.