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Alexithymia, empathic concern, goal management, and social problem solving in adult male prisoners

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Social problem-solving skills training forms a major part of many offender treatment programmes. In this study, we explored the influences of alexithymia, empathic concern and goal management on social problem-solving skills in 79 adult male prisoners in an attempt to identify affective and cognitive factors relevant to offenders' social problem-solving skills. Results showed that alexithymia was associated with less effective social problem solving, whereas empathic concern and perspective taking were associated with more effective social problem solving, but unexpectedly also with a Negative Problem Orientation. Persistence in goal attainment was associated with effective social problem-solving abilities, and inflexibility in adopting new strategies in the face of obstacles was associated with maladaptive problem-solving styles. Implications for developing social problem-solving interventions for offenders are presented.
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Keywords: alexithymia; empathic concern; goals; offenders; social problem solving

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University of the West of England, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Bristol, UK 2: Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham, Nothingham, UK

Publication date: October 1, 2009

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