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Psychological Determinants of the Prison Experience

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1993
31 pages
This article applies the technology of psychological classification to explore the effects of personality characteristics on prison adjustments and experiences.
Bivariate and multivariate analysis assess the comparative effects of four personality types (committed criminal, neurotic, situational, and character disordered) on official disciplinary infractions, staff ratings of interpersonal behaviors, and self-reports of stress, aggressive behaviors, nonviolent infractions, and victimizations. The effects of other predictors, including age, race, marital status, employment status, prior prison time, prior prison revocations, and sentence length are also considered. Results indicate that inmates who were diagnosed as character disordered and those who had extensive prior prison experiences were more likely than others to have been cited for prison infractions. Young, white inmates and those who had never been revoked during prior sentences were more likely to report victimizing experiences. Inmates most likely to score high on the stress measure were white and neurotic anxious, whereas character-disordered inmates scored atypically low. Finally, older, white situational inmates were viewed most favorably as staff rated the quality of their interpersonal relationships with other inmates. Tables, appendix, notes, references

Date Published: January 1, 1993