Rejection sensitivity as a determinant of well-being during reentry
This chapter examines structural and psychosocial pathways through which criminal stigma can directly and indirectly impact the well-being of formerly incarcerated persons. It aims to introduce an account of stigma that conceptualizes the centrality of a rejection—expectation dynamic in the everyday lives of formerly incarcerated persons. The chapter draws on the body of research on rejection sensitivity and findings from qualitative and experimental studies on reentry in New York City, and presents a social—cognitive processing model to illuminate the processes through which criminal stigma likely impacts formerly incarcerated people at multiple levels of the ecological system. Structural stigma, operating through legal and extralegal mechanisms, is a source of chronic unemployment among formerly incarcerated persons. The chapter concludes by suggesting avenues for future research examining criminal status rejection sensitivity as a determinant of well-being during reentry, with an eye toward understanding how stigma-reduction interventions might enable formerly incarcerated people to flourish in the world beyond bars.