Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Using an Ability-Based Model of Emotional Intelligence to Predict Adjustment to Prison

Kimberly A. Coomes, PhD, CSW, Fielding's School of Psychology

This study explored the feasibility of using ability-based emotional intelligence, as measured by the Mayer-Salovey-Caruso Emotional Intelligence Test, Version 2.0 (MSCEIT v 2.0), to predict newly incarcerated inmates’ adjustment to prison, as measured by the Prison Adjustment Questionnaire (PAQ) and reported disciplinary events. The 200 participants were inmates in medium-security prisons who had been incarcerated for 9-24 months. An exploratory factor analysis of the PAQ and amended view of the nature of prison adjustment yielded the PAQ – Global Dimension Scale. While the main hypotheses were not supported, a number of previous findings were replicated. Consistent with previous research, the sample population had MSCEIT scores in the average range and younger inmates and those with more disciplinary reports had poorer adjustment. Education and relationship status, found predictive in other studies, were not related to adjustment in this study. One anomaly in the data was the well-adjusted nature of the sample, as seen in low scores on the PAQ and few disciplinary reports. Sampling methods may provide an explanation for this finding. Results are discussed in terms of implications for clinical work and improved methodology in future research.

Keywords: emotional intelligence, prison adjustment

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