Time of Schizophrenia Diagnosis and Jury Deliberations

Alexandra Coyle Hanover College, Mary Romine Hanover College
Faculty Sponsor(s): Katherine Knight Tuttle Hanover College
A diagnosis of schizophrenia can carry heavy implications for an individual, especially in the judicial system. While there have been many studies regarding mental illness and sentencing, one topic that has not been explored is how the time of diagnosis (relative to commission of a crime) could influence perceptions of a person and his culpability. The goal of our research is to better understand how the timing of a schizophrenia diagnosis, and attitudes about mental illness more generally, influence how a person accused of a crime is perceived by potential jurors. Our study is a between-subjects design with three conditions. We created a false crime report that described a robbery and assault and manipulated the time of diagnosis (5 years before crime, after being arrested for crime, and no diagnosis). We also asked about general attitudes regarding mental illness. This study was done both in-person and online. Our hypothesis is that participants will sentence the perpetrator more harshly if he was diagnosed five years before the crime (vs. following the crime) and that he will be judged as being more responsible for his actions. Our research will help to elucidate how the timing of a diagnosis can influence perceptions of a person with a mental health disorder who has committed a crime.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

09:45 AM
Pharmacy & Health Sciences 103