Date of Award

Fall 2001

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Mary Margaret Livingston


The purpose of the present study is to broaden knowledge in the area of adjustment to incarceration. Clemmer (1950) proposed that a process known as prisonization develops as inmates adjust to the arduous circumstance of incarceration. Previous research has compared two competing models of adaptation, known as importation and deprivation, as predictors of prisonization. Given that Clemmer (1950) originally hypothesized that prisonization serves as a method of adjusting to the prison environment, the present study explored the relationships among the importation model, the deprivation model, prisonization, and adjustment. In an attempt to take into consideration both person and environmental factors, it was hypothesized that an integration of the importation and deprivation models would explain more of the variance in adjustment and prisonization levels than models emphasizing either personal variables or environmental influences alone. Second, based on a failure of previous research to include measures of personality in the examination of the importation model, it was hypothesized that inclusion of a comprehensive personality measure of psychological type (MBTI-theta scores) would increase the explanatory power of the importation model. Finally, it was hypothesized that inclusion of psychological and emotional measures of perceived distress could account for more of the variance than the traditionally used measure of disciplinary infractions, as relatively few inmates on average receive disciplinary write-ups on a regular basis. Results supported the hypothesized relationships. Specifically, the integrative model had a better fit to the data than either the deprivation model or the importation model independently. In addition, self-reported levels of perceived distress accounted for a better fit to the data than number of disciplinary infractions, suggesting that a combination of emotional and behavioral indices account for more of the variance in adjustment than either factor separately. Prisonization was found to mediate the relationship between importation and deprivation variables and behavioral measures of adjustment, but was not found to significantly mediate the relationship between adaptation variables and levels of perceived distress. Last, the inclusion of personality factors, namely psychological type, significantly contributed to the overall understanding of adjustment to incarceration in the present study.