The Influence of Religious Participation on the Adjustment of Female Inmates

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Incarcerated women at a state correctional facility (N = 213) participated in a study of the relationship between stress, adjustment, institutional misconduct, and degree of personal support derived from religious participation. A series of multivariate analyses of variance investigated differences on adjustment indicators between four groups of inmates who differed on their self-reported support from religious activities, while controlling for self-reported support for other institutional activities. Inmates who received high-level support from participation in religious activities reported significantly less depression, recounted perpetrating fewer aggressive acts, and committed fewer serious institutional infractions than those who did not attend religious activities as well as those who attended but reported receiving low-level support. In addition, inmates reporting a high level of support through their religious activities reported fewer instances of feeling angry, having arguments with inmates and correctional officers, physical fights, and injury than those who reported no participation in religious activities. Results indicate that inmates who perceive that they are receiving personal support from religious activities are better adjusted to the challenges of prison.

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