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The impact of bullying and coping strategies on the psychological distress of young offenders

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This study investigated the involvement in bullying, the psychological distress, and the coping strategies of 99 males in an English young offenders institution. The Direct and Indirect Prisoner Behaviour Checklist (DIPC; Ireland, 1998), the 21-item Depression Anxiety Stress Scales (DASS; Lovibond & Lovibond, 1995) and the 48-item Coping Styles Questionnaire (CSQ; Roger et al., 1993) were administered. Over 60% of prisoners were involved in bullying (as a victim or bully), as indicated by responses on the DIPC. Emotional and avoidance coping were significantly related to psychological distress. Bully/victims were significantly more depressed than prisoners not involved in bullying, and being a bully/victim was a significant predictor of higher stress scores. Significant correlations were observed between all psychological distress measures and the number of bullying behaviours experienced by prisoners. These findings are discussed in relation to their implications for prisoner care and avenues for future research are proposed.
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Keywords: Victimization; inmate; mental health; prison

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Psychology Department, HMP Wormwood Scrubs, London, UK 2: School of Psychology - Forensic Section, University of Leicester, Leicester, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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