Developing a self-report measure to assess disclosure strategies in adult male prisoners and its association with personality

Ferguson, Kerry, Ireland, Carol Ann orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-7310-2903 and Ireland, Jane Louise orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5117-5930 (2013) Developing a self-report measure to assess disclosure strategies in adult male prisoners and its association with personality. Journal of Forensic Practice, 15 (2). pp. 97-108. ISSN 2050-8794

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Purpose – The current study aims to report on the development of a self-report measure of disclosure strategies in adult male prisoners (violent and acquisitive offences) and its association with personality and self-esteem.

Design/methodology/approach – The study employed an adapted version of the Delphi technique to develop initial items for inclusion in the new disclosure measure (Disclosure Management Questionnaire: DMQ). This element of the study utilised an “expert sample” of forensic psychologists. A total of 94 prisoners then completed the developed measure. Factor analysis was utilised to explore the structure of the measure, which subsequently allowed associations between disclosure strategies, personality and self-esteem to be identified.

Findings – Analysis revealed a measure of disclosure (the DMQ) comprising four subscales: Exploratory Engagement, Placatory/Evasive Engagement, Passive Resistance and Active Resistance. Significant correlations were identified between the personality trait Neuroticism and higher levels of Placatory/Evasive Engagement and Active Resistance of forensic clients during the disclosure process. Self-esteem was also found to correlate with disclosure, in that high trait self-esteem was found to be associated with higher exploratory engagement, whereas low trait self-esteem was associated with higher levels of active resistance of the disclosure process.

Originality/value – Developing an understanding of the nature and function of disclosure and how these relate to individual factors such as personality (including trait self-esteem) provides valuable knowledge and alternative ways of supporting forensic clients in discussing difficult issues related to their offending.

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