A longitudinal study of adaption to prison after initial incarceration

Zsuzsanna Kovács, Bernadette Kun, Mark D. Griffiths, Z. Demetrovics

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Much of the psychiatric literature about prisoners concerns the associations between psychiatric conditions and criminality. More recently, there has been increased psychiatric interest in the moral emotions (i.e., emotions related to the rightness or wrongness of an individual's actions) and their association with psychological problems and psychopathology. The role of moral emotions has never previously been studied in relation to prison adaptation on initial incarceration. Their impact in adaptation to prison life was studied longitudinally. Immediately after prison incarceration, 316 adult male offenders were assessed in relation to moral emotions, coping strategies, and somatization symptoms. After four months, information relating to their prison adaptation were recorded using official data. Findings showed that (i) offence-related shame correlated positively with somatization symptoms, distraction, and self-blame, and that (ii) offence-related guilt correlated positively with self-blame, and negatively with venting on emotion. The relationship between self-blame and somatization was partly mediated by offence-related shame and guilt. Previous research has demonstrated that moral emotions are associated with increased severity of psychopathology such as depression, suicidal ideation, and psychological problems generally. Therefore, it is important that psychiatrists are aware of the effect that moral emotions can have on psychological functioning. Implications for prison psychiatrists are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)240-246
Number of pages7
JournalPsychiatry Research
Volume273
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019

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Prisons
Longitudinal Studies
Emotions
Psychiatry
Shame
Guilt
Psychology
Psychopathology
Suicidal Ideation
Prisoners
Depression
Research

Keywords

  • Imprisonment
  • Moral emotions
  • Prison adjustment
  • Psychopathology
  • Self-conscious affect

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry

Cite this

A longitudinal study of adaption to prison after initial incarceration. / Kovács, Zsuzsanna; Kun, Bernadette; Griffiths, Mark D.; Demetrovics, Z.

In: Psychiatry Research, Vol. 273, 01.03.2019, p. 240-246.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Kovács, Zsuzsanna ; Kun, Bernadette ; Griffiths, Mark D. ; Demetrovics, Z. / A longitudinal study of adaption to prison after initial incarceration. In: Psychiatry Research. 2019 ; Vol. 273. pp. 240-246.
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