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Prison officer's beliefs regarding self-harm in prisoners : an empirical investigation

Pannell, Joel, Howells, Kevin and Day, Andrew 2003, Prison officer's beliefs regarding self-harm in prisoners : an empirical investigation, International journal of forensic psychology, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 103-110.

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Title Prison officer's beliefs regarding self-harm in prisoners : an empirical investigation
Author(s) Pannell, Joel
Howells, Kevin
Day, Andrew
Journal name International journal of forensic psychology
Volume number 1
Issue number 1
Start page 103
End page 110
Publisher University of Wollongong, Faculty of Health & Behavioural Sciences
Place of publication Wollongong, N.S.W.
Publication date 2003
ISSN 1448-4374
Keyword(s) self-harm
suicide
prisoners
correctional officers
perceptions
Summary The prevention of self-harm and suicide in prisoners depends on good interaction between the individual prisoner and prison staff. Staff perceptions of prisoner self-harm are likely to be a crucial factor influencing this interaction. The aim of the present study was to determine correctional officers' perception of the causes and functions of self-harm, and the effects of incident severity and repetitiveness on perceptions. A sample of 76 correctional officers was presented with a vignette depicting a self-harm in which the severity and repetitiveness of the incident was systematically altered. Officers' rated both the causes and functions of the behaviour. Four attributional dimensions were identified by factor analysis. These factors related primarily to personal factors about the individual prisoner. Staff perceived the functions of self-harm to be communicative rather than to commit suicide. Perceptions were not affected by severity or repetitiveness information, except for high severity leading to a greater perception of suicidal intent. Initiatives to help staff work more effectively and therapeutically with distressed prisoners are therefore likely to impact positively upon rates of self-harm.
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Language eng
Field of Research 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2003, University of Wollongong
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30020623

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Psychology
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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.