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The effects of a modified dialectical behavior therapy program on male inmates’ coping skills

20 July 2012


The effects of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) in correctional settings, especially with male inmates, have not been extensively researched within the correctional literature. I sought to add to the existing literature by examining the effects of a modified DBT program on the coping skills of male inmates in the Oregon Department of Corrections. It was hypothesized that participants would show increases in task-oriented coping and decreases in emotion- and avoidance-oriented coping over time as they progressed through treatment. A total of 66 male inmates who were participating in DBT groups from two Oregon prisons completed a coping skills measure at various stages of treatment. Participants completed surveys on one, two, or three separate occasions, depending on their length of time in the group. Participants who completed surveys on three occasions showed significant improvements in task-oriented coping scores. Although there was a trend toward improvements in emotion-oriented coping, no other significant results were found. Implications of the study and for future research are discussed.


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