Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
Tara Nichols - Thesis library version.pdf (1.58 MB)

Public Perceptions and Attitudes Towards People with Arson Convictions: A Preliminary Examination and Comparison with Sexual Convictions

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Version 2 2022-05-15, 21:57
Version 1 2022-05-09, 02:41
posted on 2022-05-15, 21:57 authored by Nichols, Tara

People with arson convictions face significant reintegration barriers that have the potential to compromise the desistance process. Public perceptions and attitudes have been identified as one factor which can impact the range and quality of reintegration opportunities necessary to support desistance. However, limited research to date has examined public perceptions and attitudes towards people with arson convictions. The current thesis sought to address this gap in the existing literature using two interlinked studies. Study 1 utilised a qualitative online survey with 60 student participants to qualitatively examine the content and valence of perceptions and attitudes towards people with arson convictions. Study 2 used a between-subjects experimental design to quantitatively examine similarities and differences in public perceptions and attitudes between individuals with arson and sexual convictions in a sample of 198 community participants. In addition, four open-ended questions were analysed using summative content analysis to explore the primary concerns underpinning participants’ perceptions and attitudes. This research provides novel insight into the public perceptions, attitudes, and underlying concerns related to people with arson convictions. These findings have potential implications for policy and practice and can be used to inform future empirical research.


Copyright Date


Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Forensic Psychology

Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Science

ANZSRC Socio-Economic Outcome code

280121 Expanding knowledge in psychology

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

1 Pure basic research

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Psychology


Tyler, Nichola