The internalization of and defiance against rules within prison: The role of correctional officers’ autonomy-supportive and controlling communication style as perceived by prisoners
- 32 Downloads
While incarcerated, prisoners are subject to a vast number of rules. Drawing upon self-determination theory, the present study examined whether prisoners’ perceptions of the degree to which prison officers communicate rules in an autonomy-supportive or controlling way related to prisoners’ internalization of and defiance against rules, and whether this, in turn, related to their (mal)adaptive functioning in prison. Participants were 156 Belgian prisoners (Mage = 38.60; SD = 11.68, 88.5% male) who filled out questionnaires concerning the study variables. Associations were tested using structural equation modeling. Results showed that, whereas a higher level of perceived autonomy-supportive communication style related via greater internalization of rules to prisoners’ higher quality of life, a perceived controlling style was positively related to aggression and irritation vis-à-vis prison officers. Additional analyses suggested that an alternative model, where prisoners’ maladaptive functioning is predictive of higher levels of perceived controlling communication, is equally valid.
KeywordsRules Autonomy support Control Internalization Prisoners
We would like to thank the prison staff, both national and local directors, prison guards and social services, who assisted us in the recruitment of participants and the data collection. We are also thankful to the prisoners who participated in this study.
Preparation of this paper was supported by Grant 12X5818N of the Research Foundation – Flanders.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
- Aelterman, N., Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., & Haerens, L. (2016). A dimensional and person-centered perspective on controlled reasons for non-participation in physical education. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 23, 142–154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2015.12.001.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Airdrie, J. N., Langley, K., Thapar, A., & van Goozen, S. N. M. (2018). Facial emotion recognition and eye gaze in attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder with and without comorbid conduct disorder. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 57, 561–570. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaac.2018.04.016.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Andrews, D. A., & Bonta, J. (2010). The psychology of criminal conduct (5th ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Assor, A., Vansteenkiste, M., & Kaplan, A. (2009). Identified versus introjected approach and introjected avoidance motivations in school and in sports: The limited benefits of self-worth strivings. Journal of Educational Psychology, 101, 482–497. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0014236.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Baudat, S., Zimmermann, G., Antonietti, J. P., & Van Petegem, S. (2017). The role of maternal communication style in adolescents’ motivation to change alcohol use: A vignette-based study. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 24, 152–162. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687637.2016.1192584.Google Scholar
- Buss, A. H., & Perry, M. (1992). The aggression questionnaire. Personality Processes and Individual, 63, 452–459.Google Scholar
- Elektronisch toezicht als alternatief voor een gevangenisstraf. (2016, June 8). Retrieved from http://www.justitiehuizen.be/elektronisch-toezicht-als-alternatief-voor-eengevangenisstraf [In Dutch]
- Goemaere, S., Vansteenkiste, M., Brenning, K., Beyers, W., Vermeulen, A., & Binsted, K., (in revision). Do astronauts benefit from autonomy? Investigating autonomy-supportive communication by mission support, astronauts’ motivation and collaboration during HI-SEAS 1. Manuscript under revision. Google Scholar
- Grolnick, W. S., Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (1997). Internalization within the family: The self-determination theory perspective. In J. E. Grusec & L. Kuczynski (Eds.), Parenting and children’s internalization of values: A handbook of contemporary theory (pp. 78–99). London: Wiley.Google Scholar
- Haerens, L., Aelterman, N., Vansteenkiste, M., Soenens, B., & Van Petegem, S. (2015). Do perceived autonomy-supportive and controlling teaching relate to physical education students’ motivational experiences through unique pathways? Distinguishing between the bright and the dark side of motivation. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 16, 26–36. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.08.013.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Haerens, L., Vansteenkiste, M., De Meester, A., Delrue, J., Tallir, I., Vande Broek, G., et al. (2018). Different combinations of perceived autonomy support and control: Identifying the most optimal motivating style. Physical Education and Sport Pedagogy, 23, 16–36. https://doi.org/10.1080/17408989.2017.1346070.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hubbard, J. A., Dodge, K. A., Cillessen, A. H. N., Coie, J. D., & Schwartz, D. (2001). The dyadic nature of social information processing in boys’ reactive and proactive aggression. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 80, 268–280. https://doi.org/10.1037//0022-35126.96.36.1998.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Jang, H., Kim, E. J., & Reeve, J. (2016). Why students become more engaged or more disengaged during the semester: A self-determination theory dual-process model. Learning and Instruction, 43, 27–38. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2016.01.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kline, R. B. (2005). Principles and practice of structural equation modeling. New York: The Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Koestner, R., Ryan, R. M., Bernieri, F., & Holt, K. (1984). Setting limits on children’s behavior: The differential effects of controlling vs. informational styles on intrinsic motivation and creativity. Journal of Personality, 52, 233–248. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.1984.tb00879.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Kokkevi, A., Hartgers, C., Blanken, P., Fahner, E. M., Tempesta, E., & Uchtenhagen, A. (1993). European version of the Addiction Severity Index (5th ed.). Athens: Athens University Medical School.Google Scholar
- Liebling, A., Price, D., & Shefer, G. (2011). The prison officer (2nd ed.). Cullompton, Devon: Willan Publishing.Google Scholar
- Miller, W. R., & Rollnick, S. (1991). Motivational interviewing: Preparing people for change. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Muthén L. K., & Muthén B. O. (1998–2012). Mplus user’s guide (7th ed.). Los Angeles, CA: Muthén & Muthén.Google Scholar
- Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2017). Self-determination theory: Basic psychological needs in motivation, development, and wellness. New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
- Sierens, E., Vansteenkiste, M., Goossens, L., Soenens, B., & Dochy, F. (2009). The synergistic relationship of perceived autonomy support and structure in the prediction of self-regulated learning. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 79, 57–68. https://doi.org/10.1348/000709908X304398.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Van der Kaap-Deeder, J., Audenaert, E., Vandevelde, S., Soenens, B., Van Mastrigt, S., Mabbe, E., et al. (2017). Choosing when choices are limited: The role of perceived afforded choice and autonomy in prisoners’ well-being. Law and Human Behavior, 41, 567–578. https://doi.org/10.1037/lhb0000259.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Van Malderen, S., Pauwels, L., Walthoff-Borm, C., Glibert, P., & Todts, S. (2011). Druggebruik in Belgische gevangenissen: Monitoring van gezondheidsrisico’s 2010. Eindrapport. Brussel: Federale overheidsdienst Justitie.Google Scholar
- van Mastrigt, S. (2015). Self-determination in prison: A new framework for thinking about penal practice and Scandinavian exceptionalism? In A. Storgaard (Ed.), Research Seminar Report 57. Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology: Hvad er lov-hvad bør bliver lov? Kriminalisering og regulering i de nordiske velfærdsamfund (pp. 117–131). Aarhus: Scandinavian Research Council for Criminology.Google Scholar
- Vansteenkiste, M., Aelterman, N., De Muynck, G.-J., Haerens, L., Patall, E., & Reeve, J. (2018). Fostering personal meaning and self-relevance: A self-determination theory perspective on internalization. Journal of Experimental Education, 86, 30–49. https://doi.org/10.1080/00220973.2017.1381067.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vansteenkiste, M., Niemiec, C. P., & Soenens, B. (2010). The development of the five mini-theories of self-determination theory: An historical overview, emerging trends, and future directions. In T. C. Urdan & S. A. Karabenick (Eds.), Advances in motivation and achievement, v. 16A—The decade ahead: Theoretical perspectives on motivation and achievement (pp. 105–165). London: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vansteenkiste, M., Sierens, E., Soenens, B., Goossens, L., Dochy, F., Aelterman, N., et al. (2012). Identifying configurations of perceived teacher autonomy support and structure: Associations with self-regulated learning, motivation and problem behavior. Learning and Instruction, 22, 431–439. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.04.002.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Vansteenkiste, M., & Soenens, B. (2015). Vitamines voor groei: Ontwikkeling voeden vanuit de zelf-determinatie theorie. Gent, België: Acco.Google Scholar