Social stressors, personality andcoping behaviors associated withmale inmate violence

Durmus Alper Camlibel, Salih Hakan Can

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to expand available knowledge on predictors of male inmate violence by examining a large set of variables offered by the importation, deprivation and threat appraisal and coping theories. Design/methodology/approach: A total of 465 male inmates from five medium-security prisons in Wisconsin completed surveys to report demographics, violence, personality, social stressors and healthy coping behaviors to help manage risk by identifying key factors. Findings: Inmates reported more violence with the “imported” characteristics of younger age, less incarceration, no college experience and personality patterns of impulsiveness, hostility and internal locus of control. More violence was reported by inmates with social stressors experienced from family and correctional staff. Additionally, less violence was reported by inmates with more healthy coping behaviors of exercise and social support, especially from family and other inmates. Research limitations/implications: One must remain uncertain about whether similar patterns of demographics, personality, social stressors and coping behaviors associated with inmate violence would be found in other US prisons. Future research can determine whether similar predictors of violence are found for women inmates and the consideration of ethnicity should be warranted when examining predictors of inmate violence. Practical implications: Prison administrators can develop new programs to reduce social stressors and increase healthy coping behaviors found by this study to be significantly associated with reduced violence, exercise and social support from other inmates and family. Social implications: This research recommends that educating and training correctional staff for a trauma-informed care approach is an integral part of lessening the effects of “pains of imprisonment” on inmate violence and healing the effects of trauma. Originality/value: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study provides the first direct comparison of social stressors from other inmates, correctional staff or family members outside the prison as possible predictors of male inmate violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)251-269
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Criminological Research, Policy and Practice
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Law
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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