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Environmental Congruence and Symptoms of Psychopathology: A Further Exploration of the Effects of Exposure to the Jail Environment

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 18 Issue: 3 Dated: (September 1991) Pages: 351-374
Date Published
24 pages
The link between environmental congruence and symptoms of psychopathology was examined among jail prisoners in three New Jersey counties.
The research reflected the perspective that psychological stress, which is manifested as symptoms of psychopathology, can be seen as a transaction between humans and their environment. Samples of the prisoners were administered instruments that measured symptoms of psychopathology, the 90-symptoms checklist scale (SCL-90), perceived environmental needs, the 7-scale Jail Preference Inventory (JPI), and perceived environmental resources (the 21-point Environmental Quality Scale (EQS)). The JPI and EQS were confined as a measure of environmental congruence and correlated with the SCL-90 scores. The results demonstrated that prisoners with a low environmental congruence suffer from more extreme symptoms of psychological distress than do their counterparts who experience a higher congruence. On that basis of these findings directions for future programs and research should focus on an environment-centered approach that enhances congruence and thus reduces distress. 2 notes, 7 tables, and 17 references (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1991