U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Measuring "Mature Coping" Skills Among Adult and Juvenile Offenders: A Psychometric Assessment of Relevant Instruments

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 28 Issue: 3 Dated: June 2001 Pages: 300-328
Date Published
June 2001
29 pages

This study investigated the psychometric properties (reliability and validity) of a battery of scales and subscales used to measure Robert Johnson's "mature coping" construct.


Robert Johnson (1996) used mature coping as a construct to argue for the creation of meaningful offender rehabilitation and prison reform efforts. According to Johnson, "mature coping" means "dealing with life's problems like a responsive and responsible human being, one who seeks autonomy without violating the rights of others, security without resort to deception or violence, and relatedness to others as the finest and fullest expression of human identity." Although Johnson agreed that most inmates had not been equipped or trained to behave in those ways, he believed that all people had inclinations toward autonomy, security, and relatedness to others. The incarceration experience should build on these inclinations, not thwart them. In the current study, 545 adults from two boot camps completed the testing instruments designed to measure Johnson's construct of mature coping. The comparable number of juveniles included in the study was 370. Consistent with prison populations in general, both sets of participants had low levels of formal education and exhibited weak employment patterns. The battery of instruments included a Program Attitudes Scale, a Coping Strategies Inventory, a Social Problem Solving Inventory, a Self-Esteem Inventory, a Depression Scale, and an Anti-Social Attitudes Scale. Statistical results showed the factorial validity, internal consistency reliability, and the construct validity of each scale. Descriptive statistics for these scales are reported for the adult and juvenile boot camp samples. Overall, the data revealed that the psychometric properties of each measure of "mature coping" were well within acceptable ranges and measured what they were intended to measure. 6 tables and 47 references

Date Published: June 1, 2001