Katy Moharter

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Lisa DeChano-Cook

Second Advisor

Dr. Lucius Hallett IV

Third Advisor

Dr. Charles Crawford


Geography, Death Penalty, perception, socialpsychology, opinion

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


Since the reinstatement of the death penalty in the United States in 1977, research has focused on shifting attitudes and waning public support for this institution. Support for the death penalty varies between different temporal, geographic, and demographic boundaries. Research also suggests that social-psychological factors such as attributional style and moral disengagement play a significant role in rationalization of death penalty support, as well as the intensity of the support. Aspects of moral disengagement serve as reliable predictors for death penalty support for a limited sample of participants, which this research intends to evaluate at a greater scale. This research surveyed geographers at the 2015 American Association of Geographers meeting in Chicago, Illinois by means of a specially designed questionnaire, and results indicate that aspects of moral disengagement do serve as a predictor of death penalty support, although attributional style is less reliable.