Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology


Prison inmates released to the community following incarceration often have difficulty adapting socially. Previous research indicates that prison treatment programs aimed at increasing cognitive and prosocial skills can improve ex-felon adaption and decrease recidivism. The current study explored the effects of an 8-week prison treatment program (Transitional Counseling Program [TCP]) designed to teach prosocial skills. This was expected to enhance Bandura's (1977, 1982, 1986) construct of self-efficacy (SE) within inmates. Self-efficacy enhancement was seen as a first step in a program of future research which may show a connection between higher inmate SE at release, improved post prison adaption, and recidivism reduction. Inmate participants were members of three preexisting TCP groups: Prior TCP (n = 5), Current TCP (Il = 8), and Partial TCP (Q = 6). Prior TCP inmates completed training six to eighteen months prior to data collection. Current TCP inmates completed training at the time of the study. Partial TCP inmates completed some training (two to four weeks long) at the time of the study. Fourteen inmates who declined TCP were assigned to a non-equivalent control (Control) group. Measures included a demographic questionnaire (DQ); the SE research scale developed by Sherer, Maddux, Mercandante, Prentice-Dunn, Jacobs and Rogers (1982), containing two subscales: General SE and Social SE; and the Shipley Institute of Living Scale (Shipley) (Zachary, 1986). As predicted, a main effect for treatment was found (f = 3.94, df = 3, 21, Q = .02) using General SE scores as the dependent variable in an analysis of covariance. Six covariates including Shipley IQ, were examined for possible preexisting differences between groups. None of the covariates were significantly related to SE scores. Post hoc comparisons revealed two groups, Current TCP and Control, as significantly different at the .05 level for General SE scores. Prior TCP and Partial TCP means did not differ significantly from the Control group. Total SE scores showed no significant differences between groups using Tukey post hoc criteria. Further research is needed to confirm the causal role of TCP, to explore ways to prevent decay in training effects, and to establish generalizability limits.

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