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Personality and Character Virtues as Predictors of Mental Health Among Prisoners


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1 Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India
     

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Crime has always been considered as negative aspect of human behavior. Many studies described criminal behavior as associated with personality pattern and mental health. Most of the studies have been based on finding out what should be changed, so that the criminal would get an improved mental health status (World Health Organization, 2005; Fazel, Hayes, Bartellas, Clerici, & Trestman, 2016). Yet there found to be a lack of available literature regarding positive characteristics possessed by the criminals that may be improved in order to achieve a better mental health status. Therefore, the present research aimed to measure mental health status of the persons residing inside the prison walls and to predict it through their personality characteristics and character virtues. Two groups were selected for the study (i.e., first time criminals & habitual criminals). Atotal of 200 male prisoners were taken as sample (100 from each group) from the Tihar Central prison number 5, Delhi. Results showed that the first time criminals performed better than the habitual criminals on personality characteristics of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness, as well as on character virtues of wisdom, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. The two groups showed no significant difference on the virtue of courage. Habitual criminals scored higher on the personality characteristic of neuroticism that showed their emotional instability in comparison to that of the first time criminals. Also, the habitual criminals scored higher on the scores of mental health that meant a worse mental health status than that of the first time criminals. Personality characteristic of extraversion and virtue of justice predicted mental health among first time prisoners. Personality characteristics of neuroticism and extraversion, as well as virtue of temperance predicted mental health among habitual prisoners. Effect sizes ranged from small to large.

Keywords

Personality, Character Virtues, Mental Health, Prisoners.
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  • Personality and Character Virtues as Predictors of Mental Health Among Prisoners

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Authors

Anima Kumari
Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India
Naved Iqbal
Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India
Waheeda Khan
Department of Psychology, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India

Abstract


Crime has always been considered as negative aspect of human behavior. Many studies described criminal behavior as associated with personality pattern and mental health. Most of the studies have been based on finding out what should be changed, so that the criminal would get an improved mental health status (World Health Organization, 2005; Fazel, Hayes, Bartellas, Clerici, & Trestman, 2016). Yet there found to be a lack of available literature regarding positive characteristics possessed by the criminals that may be improved in order to achieve a better mental health status. Therefore, the present research aimed to measure mental health status of the persons residing inside the prison walls and to predict it through their personality characteristics and character virtues. Two groups were selected for the study (i.e., first time criminals & habitual criminals). Atotal of 200 male prisoners were taken as sample (100 from each group) from the Tihar Central prison number 5, Delhi. Results showed that the first time criminals performed better than the habitual criminals on personality characteristics of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness, as well as on character virtues of wisdom, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. The two groups showed no significant difference on the virtue of courage. Habitual criminals scored higher on the personality characteristic of neuroticism that showed their emotional instability in comparison to that of the first time criminals. Also, the habitual criminals scored higher on the scores of mental health that meant a worse mental health status than that of the first time criminals. Personality characteristic of extraversion and virtue of justice predicted mental health among first time prisoners. Personality characteristics of neuroticism and extraversion, as well as virtue of temperance predicted mental health among habitual prisoners. Effect sizes ranged from small to large.

Keywords


Personality, Character Virtues, Mental Health, Prisoners.