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"Prison environment and behavioral outcomes."

Abstract: Although researchers have used the concept of social climate to study prison environments since the early 1960s, little empirical evidence has been produced to establish a relationship between climate and prisoner behavior. One reason for this failure may be the conceptual and measurement problems that have been associated with climate. This study draws on recent theoretical and empirical studies of organizational psychologists in applying climate to the study of work environments, to extend and correct specification of climate for the study of prisons. Using this conceptualization, a relationship is found between climate and several indicators of prisoner adjustment. The results are consistent with those of organizational psychologists applying the concept in other settings and with related prison behavioral studies. Specifically, provision of support for self-advancement and improvement is related to positive prison adjustment. Also, prisons with less structure and more opportunities for self-efficacy experience fewer behavioral problems. The implications of these results for prison administration are discussed. (Journal abstract.)