Theses and Dissertations


Got Shame?

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Dunaway, R. Gregory

Committee Member

Haynes, Stacy H.

Committee Member

Rader, Nicole E.

Committee Member

Keith, Shelly

Date of Degree


Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access



Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of Sociology


This secondary analysis represents a cross-sectional quantitative test of Reintegrative Shaming Theory (Braithwaite 1989) on inmates in the Mississippi Department of Corrections. The sample consists of 726 questionnaires split evenly between male and female respondents. The questionnaire includes measures central to Braithwaite’s theory (1989) as well as modifications that address the particular experiences of inmates including the frequency and communication with family, participation in prison programming, child-parent attachment, and moral conscience. Twenty Nine hypotheses incorporated in three analytical frameworks correspond to the following research questions: (1) Do indicators of interdependency predict shame and do the same indicators of interdependency predict shame for both men and women? (2) Do indicators of stigmatization, disintegration, and child-parent attachment predict reintegration better than interdependency? (3) Do the basic theoretical constructs of reintegrative shaming explain projected criminality and projected shame in a sample of inmates? Findings indicate partial support for the general claims of Reintegrative Shaming Theory (Braithwaite 1989). First, results indicate that reported shame, reintegration, and moral consciousness predict projected criminality and those effects are stronger for women than men. Second, inmates with stronger bonds to children are less likely to recidivate. Lastly, prior shame predicts projected criminality but not projected shame, and reintegration predicts projected shame but not projected criminality.