Adaptation to prison and psychological adjustment in a sample of prison inmates




adaptation to prison, social status, coping, psychological adjustment, cognitive skills


Although prisonization has been studied in previous lit­erature, the effects of criminological variables on prison adaption and prison social status; and of the latter on psychological adjustment and cognitive skills have not been sufficiently analysed. As for knowing about this, 112 male prison inmates with an age range between 23 and 74 years (M = 40.40, SD = 1.04), 77 (68.8 %) with criminal records (recidivists) serving sentences in a Por­tuguese prison were evaluated in prison adaption, prison social status, psychological adjustment and cognitive skills. The results showed that criminological variables (e.g., family problems) were related with lower levels of adaption to prison. Furthermore, prison inmates exhib­ited a significant worse psychological adjustment than the normative population, and recidivists than primary offenders. Likewise, the results revealed that prison in­mates were characterized in problem solving tasks by adopting an avoidant coping style (i.e., Cognitive avoidance, Acceptance or Resignation, Seeking alternative rewards, Emotional discharge), at the expense of an approach coping style (i.e., Logical analysis). The implications of the results for in-prison intervention programmes design and the preparation for a third-degree life i.e., under parole, are discussed.


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Author Biographies

Ana Pereira, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

Unidade de Psicoloxía Forense

María José Vázquez, Universidad de Vigo

Departamento AIPSE


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How to Cite

Novo, M., Pereira, A., Vázquez, M. J., & Amado, B. G. (2017). Adaptation to prison and psychological adjustment in a sample of prison inmates. Acción Psicológica, 14(2), 113–128.



Artículos del monográfico [Monograph´s articles]