Virtual Graduation Ceremony

45th Graduation Ceremony

PhD in COUNSELING PSYCHOLOGY


Influence of Selected Stress Coping Strategies and Gender Differences on the Psychological Wellbeing of Life Sentenced Inmates in Maximum Security Prisons in Kenya

Abstract: Life sentenced inmates go through many difficult experiences and have to adapt to the prison environment with all its deprivations, challenges and stresses. They are affected psychologically, physically, socially and emotionally. The purpose of this study was to establish the influence of selected stress coping strategies on the psychological well-being of life sentenced inmates in maximum security prisons in Kenya. Cognitive behavioural theory and Logotherapy theory guided this study. This study was a descriptive survey. The target population was 4,487 life sentenced inmates in the nine maximum security prisons in Kenya. The accessible population was 4,487 life sentenced inmates. The sample size of the life sentenced inmates was 365 which was selected through systematic sampling. In addition, 30 specialized prison officers were purposively selected. Thus, the total sample size was 395 respondents. The study collected data using questionnaires for life sentenced inmates and an interview guide for specialized prison officers. Validity of instruments was ensured through construction of relevant instruments based on the objectives of the study. A pilot study was conducted to ensure reliability of the instruments in Naivasha maximum security prison and Nakuru women prison. The instruments were subjected to Cronbach coefficient alpha and the overall Cronbach alpha of 0.770 was obtained. Quantitative data was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 25 while qualitative data was analysed using NVivo software version 12. The study found that physiological, sociological, psychological and religious stress coping strategies significantly influenced psychological well-being of life sentenced inmates. The study further found that there was statistically significant difference in gender on the influence of the physiological stress coping strategies and religious stress coping strategies on the psychological well-being of life sentenced inmates and was not statistically significant for sociological stress coping strategies and psychological stress coping strategies. The study recommends that the management of correctional facilities, policy makers and other stakeholders of rehabilitation of inmates give the first priority to religious stress coping strategies since religious stress coping strategies had the greatest influence on psychological well-being of life sentenced inmates. This study provided insights that act as a motivation and basis for advocating for the scaling up of positive coping strategies with stress in prisons in promoting the psychological well-being of life sentenced inmates.

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