Tracy E. Shannon, PsyD, is a 2012 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University New England.

Dissertation Committee

  • Theodore Ellenhorn, PhD (Committee Chair)
  • Ann Johnson, PsyD (Committee Member)
  • William Slammon, PhD (Committee Member)


sex offenders, registry, mental health, depression, anxiety, negative experiences

Document Type


Publication Date



This dissertation outlines a mixed methods research approach to evaluate the clinical implications of sex offender public policies. Background information is given regarding current public policy on sex offender civil commitment and community notification and registration, the development of public policy and the current ramifications of the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORNA), the etiology and construction of the definition of sex offenders, and a review of sex offender interventions and their impact on therapeutic outcomes. This study examines the therapeutic and anti-therapeutic effects of SORNA using a therapeutic jurisprudence framework. A discussion of the correlation between mental health symptoms and negative experiences associated with being placed on the sex offender registry is provided. Results from quantitative analyses showed a clinically significant correlation between self-rated negative experiences associated with being on the registry and mental health pathology. Results from qualitative analyses showed the common themes reported by subjects in regard to SORNA, including hopelessness, fear or worry about losing their jobs or housing, and being “branded” for life. Overall, the results suggest that there is a perceived causal relationship between reported negative experiences and SORNA policy.