University of Twente Student Theses


Evaluation of experienced wellbeing, needs and preferences of young inmates to enhance wellbeing and happiness: a qualitative study

Schulte, P. (2017) Evaluation of experienced wellbeing, needs and preferences of young inmates to enhance wellbeing and happiness: a qualitative study.

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Abstract:Objective: Inmates often experience reduced levels of psychological and physiological well-being. A higher level of stress, depression, drug addiction, suicide risks and insecurity about future prospects are just a few potential consequences which the inmates are exposed to during imprisonment. Additionally, young offenders are likely to repeat serious crime in adulthood and also two times more likely to be problem-inmates than adult ones. Present studies about the health status of young inmates indicate that interventions for inmates have to improve. The current study is dealing with the experienced well-being of young prisoners and how this relates to their basic needs of the self-determination theory: autonomy, competence and relatedness. Additionally, the general definition of well-being and happiness is evaluated and personal needs and wishes regarding an adequate intervention by young prisoners are examined. Methods: In this study multiple methods were used to investigate the main research question regarding how the experienced well-being of young prison inmates relate to their basic needs: autonomy, competence and relatedness. The multiple method approach involves the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data in one study and aims to explore the current data. The current data involves semi-structured interviews with 15 young German inmates, who varied in age, total time of imprisonment, type of crime, IQ and family background. Participants were interviewed by a psychologist, who works in this prison. The 17 interview questions were conducted in different ways, there were both, open and closed questions. Additionally, there were two interview questions, whereas the researchers had prepared thirteen cards with words of potential answer domains. These domains were based on literature and the knowledge of two psychological experts. The participants had to choose out of them and also had the choice to write own domains on one blank card. To answer the main research question, selectively interview questions were evaluated and subordinated to the following sub-research-questions about: (1) what well-being and happiness mean for them, (2) how they evaluate their level of autonomy, competence and relatedness, (3) how they evaluate their well-being before, during and after incarceration, and (4) what they think would enhance their level of well-being and what needs and targets regarding a well-being and happiness training are. The data was coded independently by one coder using an iterative process, which combined deductive and inductive coding. Results: The meaning of well-being and happiness among the young prisoners does not differ much from those of the general population: Relationships to others, especially to family and friends seem to be most important regarding the understanding of well-being and happiness. According to the results of this study, especially the relationships to people outside the prison, are positively influencing the experienced level of well-being and happiness during imprisonment. Nevertheless, the evaluation of the prisoner´s level of well-being show that most of the prisoners experienced a lower level of well-being before, than during imprisonment and they expect a significantly higher level of well-being after the imprisonment. Furthermore, this study show that institutionalization possibly influence the level of well-being by impairing the autonomy of the prisoners. Additionally, the basic needs relatedness and competence are experienced as very important factors in the prisoners´ lives and despite incarceration, mostly experienced as present. Finally, the appraisal of the questions about a possible well-being and happiness training show that the majority of the participants indicated to be interested to participate in a well-being and happiness training, whereas especially the following topics should be approached: Intrinsic satisfaction, objectives and values, study and education, meaning of happiness and being happy. Conclusions: These findings indicate that promoting mental health among young men is necessary, including preventing crime and recidivism. Due to the current study, especially important to enhance the experience of well-being are the relationships to people outside, as well as inside the prison and the promotion of prisoner´s autonomy. The current exploratory study provides important information regarding the personal needs and experienced well-being of young prisoners and show insights in the development of interventions for this kind of target group.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology MSc (66604)
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