Ex-Offender Housing Project

Despite the importance of obtaining secure housing post release from prison or jail, reports have highlighted an epidemic of homelessness among ex-offenders. Research on ex-offender stigma have highlighted discrimination by employers who frequently use criminal background checks and questions about criminal history to dismiss potential applicants. In this study, we expand research on ex-offender stigma to the rental housing market. There is little, if any, understanding of the systemic nature of housing discrimination, particularly how and where it manifests against ex-offenders. By collecting this information, we will be able to inform policy makers and administrators to better enforce anti-discrimination laws as well as help housing agencies to better monitor their practices and create new procedures for ensuring their employees are not discriminating against potential residents who have a criminal history. 

For more information or if you are interested in this study, contact: Megan Berry or Julie Wertheimer

Sexual Harassment Project 

In a series of studies, we have examined the influence of gender, legal standard, emotion, mortality salience and many other factors upon perceptions of hostile work environment sexual harassment. Prior research has shown specific advantages of one type of legal standard over another in offsetting observer biases in evaluating allegations of sexual harassment. Current investigations are examining the role of sexual orientation, ethnicity, and race on worker judgments of what constitutes sexual harassment. This series of studies has been and continues to be funded by the National Science Foundation.

For more information or if you are interested in this study, contact: Trace Vardsveen


A series of studies examine the mechanisms that link stigma to discrimination against those with mental illness. The current study investigates both explicit and implicit attitudes towards a target presented as having a mental illness. Previous research shows that the general public often infers mental illness from social cues (Corrigan, 2004) that are often misattributed. The misattribution or actual presence of a mental illness may result in discriminatory behaviors (Corrigan, 2004).  Additionally, emotions characterized by certainty appraisals promote heuristic processing, which should lead people to rely more on stigma and avoid others with mental illness, while emotions characterized by uncertainty appraisals promote systematic processing, which should lead people to rely less on stigma and choose not to avoid others with mental illness (Tiedens & Linton, 2001).  The results of this study contribute to strategies that improve interventions for people who interact with mentally ill populations.  

For more information or if you are interested in this study, contact: Megan Berry