Committee Chair

Warren, Amye

Committee Member

Ferrier, David E.; Holcombe, Jenny; McGuffee, Karen


Dept. of Psychology


College of Arts and Sciences


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


Juveniles have limited understanding of their Miranda rights. Reforms including simplified wording and the presence of an “interested adult” have been implemented to assist juveniles with legal decisions, but adults’ understanding of Miranda rights is also limited. The present study examined whether adults’ Miranda knowledge related to their estimates of juveniles’ Miranda understanding and their advice to juveniles being questioned by police. Online participants (n= 498) completed measures of Miranda knowledge and read one of eight hypothetical scenarios varying the juvenile’s age (13 or 16 years), Miranda rights version (standard or simplified), and crime (shoplifting or shooting). Across all conditions, most participants felt that juveniles would not fully understand their rights and advised juveniles to invoke them. The simplified Miranda warning did not improve expectations of juvenile understanding or improve adults’ explanations of these rights. Findings from this study have policy and practice implications for juvenile justice and police procedure.


I would like to firstly thank my mentor, Dr. Amye Warren, for showing me that I am capable of more than I could have ever imagined. You pushed me through my toughest times and inspired me to always strive for better. I would also like to thank Dr. David Ferrier, Dr. Jenny Holcombe, Dr. Amanda Clark, and Dr. Richard Metzger, for always encouraging me to keep my head up and helping me to find confidence in myself. Thank you to Dr. McGuffee for providing your insight and legal expertise to assist with this thesis. And a huge thank you to the wonderful research assistants in the Psychology and Law Lab for helping behind the scenes with this research. Finally, I would like to thank the amazing individuals who have helped me through this emotional rollercoaster; for all the late nights and early mornings: Taylor Hutson, Leslie Robertson, Morgan Andrews, Leanza Greenlee, and Talley Bettens.


M. S.; A thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Master of Science.




Juvenile delinquents; Police questioning--United States; Right to counsel--United States; Self-incrimination--United States


advice; juveniles; Miranda rights comprehension; Miranda rights understanding; Police interrogation

Document Type

Masters theses




ix, 90 leaves.