Relationship between emotion regulation strategies and resilient coping of inmates

Wednesday, 23 November, 2022 - 09:00 to 19:30


Research has evidenced that there are several risk factors in the prison environment, including various forms of violence, overcrowding, lack of privacy, and social isolation (Crewe et al., 2014). For this reason, the ability to manage one's own emotions is essential to cope with the daily pressure during detention (Davoodi & Ghahari, 2018). The current study aimed to explore the relationship between emotional regulation strategies and resilient coping in a sample of inmates. A cross-sectional study was conducted based on a convenience sample of inmates recruited from one prison in the Center of Portugal. Emotion regulation was measured using the Emotional Regulation Questionnaire (ERQ), and resilient coping was assessed with the Brief Resilient Coping Scale (BRCS). A hierarchical multiple regression analysis was conducted and emotion regulation strategies, such as cognitive reappraisal and emotional suppression, were included as potential predictors of resilient coping. This exploratory study is part of a broader project that aims to assess the effectiveness of artistic interventions in prison environment.

The sample comprised 57 inmates. Their mean age was 41.02 years (SD = 9.25). Most participants were men (52.6%), with a low level of education (only 8.9% had completed the higher education), married (38.6%), and had been arrested for drug trafficking (22.81%). The results showed that emotional suppression was a positive predictor of resilient coping (β=0.54; p<0.01), controlling for the effect of age and gender. This regression model explained 26.1% of the variance. The findings obtained from this study suggest that emotional suppression may be an effective strategy to promote the ability to cope with stress in a prison environment. Suppressing negative emotions, inhibiting emotional expressive behaviour, or avoiding thoughts that create activation can be highly adaptive for inmates, minimizing their exposure to adverse situations such as peer violence.



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