Bullying amongst prisoners

Ireland, Jane Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5117-5930 (2010) Bullying amongst prisoners. Doctoral thesis, University of Central Lancashire.

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The present research addresses bullying behaviours among adult men and women prisoners in relation to personal/descriptive and prison-related behavioural characteristics (e.g. behaviours indicative of non-compliance with the regime), differences in social problem-solving, social self-esteem and assertiveness. The research was conducted in two phases. In phase one, male and female prisoners (n =406) completed a self-report behavioural checklist that addressed indications of bullying behaviour at their present institution, and also a questionnaire that provided them with five different bullying scenarios (depicting indirect-physical, theft-related, sexual, verbal and indirect bullying) to which they were to suggest solutions. Men reported significantly more aggressive responses and positive consequences of using aggression than women for all types of bullying. Pure bullies favoured aggressive responses for all scenarios and reported significantly more positive consequences of using aggression in response to theft-related bullying. Bully/victims reported significantly more positive consequences in response to indirect bullying. Those not involved in bullying reported significantly more negative consequences in response to all scenarios except those involving indirect-physical bullying. In phase two, prisoners (n = 502) completed the same self-report behavioural checklist presented in phase one and also a measure of social self-esteem and assertiveness. Men were significantly more likely than women to report higher self-esteem and assertiveness scores. Pure victims reported lower total assertiveness scores than the other categories and there was a trend for pure bullies to report higher total assertiveness. The proportion of prisoners reporting behaviours indicative of 'being bullied' or 'bullying others' was high in both phases, with over half the sample reporting at least one incidence of 'being bullied' and approximately half reporting at least one incidence of 'bullying others'. In both phases, indirect forms of bullying behaviour were reported more frequently than direct forms, and prison-based behaviours were more predictive of bully-category membership than personal/descriptive characteristics. The implications of the findings for intervention into bullying are discussed and directions for future research are addressed.

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