Working with offenders with personality disorder: it’s more than just the offender

Cooke, Ellena (2016). Working with offenders with personality disorder: it’s more than just the offender. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

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This thesis considers the experiences of those working with offenders with personality disorder (PD). Chapter one introduces the concept of PD and identifies the aims of the thesis. Chapter two comprises of a systematic literature review of the psychological consequences of working with offenders with PD. The evidence suggests that working with offenders with PD can result in staff ’burnout’, feeling professionally isolated, reduced self-efficacy, and negative emotional lability. Despite the dominance of negative consequences from their work, positive experiences were also identified including feeling professionally challenged and satisfied.
Chapter three explores the experiences of professionals working within ‘Unit A’ for offenders with PD and personality difficulties located within a high security prison. The results indicate a multiplicity of factors impact on the experiences of professionals working on the unit, including the prison environment, synergy of the workforce, the level of support required and provided, knowledge level, and individual perceptions. Additionally, the by-product of personal change was identified, which in turn influenced professionals’ experiences of working on ‘Unit A’. The findings demonstrate that numerous factors influenced a professional’s experiences working on ‘Unit A’, and most appear external to the challenging personality traits of the individuals with PD.
Chapter four provides a critique of the Essen Climate Evaluation Schema (EssenCES; Schalast et al., 2008). Findings suggest that the EssenCES has an emerging research base which supports its rise as a valid and reliable measure of social climate. The chapter highlights the strengths of the EssenCES but also highlights the psychometric limitations of the measure.
The final chapter discusses the thesis findings with reference to the need for further research and the implications for current practice.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology, Centre for Forensic and Criminological Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare


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