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The Joint Contribution of Motivation and Coping to Prisoners’ Well-Being

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2018

María Ávila
Centro Penitenciario de Teruel (Spain)
Pilar Sanjuán
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (Spain)
E-mail address:


Motivation and coping are two of the most relevant factors associated to well-being. One of our objectives was to describe the motivation to pursue the personal goals, the coping strategies used to pursue them, and the levels of well-being experienced, in a group of people serving prison sentences (n = 175: 143 males and 32 females). We mainly wanted to study the joint contribution of motivation and coping on their well-being. The results have shown that motivation and coping contribute to the different dimensions of well-being. Specifically, we have found that autonomous motivation (AM) as well as problem solving (PS) and positive cognitive restructuring (PCR) coping positively predict self-acceptance (β = .12, p = .06; β = .17, p < .05; β = .24, p < .01 respectively), purpose in life (β = .12, p = .06; β = .35, p < .001 and β = .24, p < .001 respectively) and positive affect (β = .13, p = .06; β = .29, p < .001 and β = .28, p < .001 respectively). Personal growth was positively predicted by AM (β = .21, p < .01) and PCR coping (β = .21, p < .01), and negatively by avoidance coping (β = –.16, p < .05). Negative affect was positively predicted by social support (β = .16, p < .05) and avoidance (β = .42, p < .001) coping. None of the variables analyzed predicted life satisfaction. The results suggest that well-being promotion programs in prison settings should encourage the pursuit of goals by AM and the use of PS and PCR coping to achieve these goals.

Research Article
Copyright © Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid 2018 

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