Predictors of coping amongst male incarcerated offenders in a private maximum-security correctional centre
Pretorius, Sheree Elizabeth
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Young adult male incarcerated offenders tend to lack adequate coping skills when addressing their personal problems within a correctional environment. Young adult male incarcerated offenders also tend to acquire problematic coping skills in order to survive in the correctional environment, which is marked by overcrowding, deviant subcultures, victimisation, role stripping, loss of goods and loss of autonomy. Although previous research has been conducted on the coping strategies of young adult male incarcerated offenders, relatively few studies have been done on the predictors of coping amongst South African young adult male incarcerated offenders in a private maximum-security correctional centre. There are several variables that can be utilised to predict coping in maximum-security correctional centres and the predictor variables included in this study were offender aggression, decision-making skills, type of offence and age. The goal of this research study was to determine which variable(s) or set of variables explain the highest variance in coping amongst young adult male incarcerated offenders in a private South African maximum-security correctional centre. Within this study, 187 literate young adult male incarcerated offenders between the ages of 21 and 25 years, with long-term sentences, were randomly selected by using the systematic random sampling technique which is a probability sampling method. The sample of this study included participants between 21 and 25 years of age from all ethnic groups, with various types of offences and differing sentence lengths. The results of the hierarchical regression analyses indicated that the combination of all the independent (predictor) variables (Type of Crime, Age, Physical Aggression, Verbal Aggression, Hostility, Vigilance, Avoidance, Procrastination and Hyper-Vigilance) statistically and practically significantly predicted Social Support, Problem-Solving and Avoidance amongst young adult male incarcerated offenders. However, Vigilance (MDMQ subscale) was the only independent (predictor) variable that had a statistically and practically significant influence on the explanation of the variance in the young adult male incarcerated offenders’ Social Support and Problem-Solving. This finding implies that young adult offenders that are more vigilant regarding decision-making, are more inclined to solve problems better and to make use of social support in order to cope better.