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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 69829 Find in a Library
Title: Study of Leadership Roles in an Alabama Prison for Women
Journal: Human Relations  Volume:32  Issue:9  Dated:(1979)  Pages:793-801
Author(s): K S vanWormer; F L Bates
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 9
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study of 33 inmates in an Alabama women's prison determined prison leaders and compared the leadership variable with other behavioral variables.
Abstract: Leadership was subdivided into two measurable dimensions of role behavior, willingness to speak for the group in registering a complaint (i.e., complaint leaders), and ability to get what one wants, for oneself or others. The four behavioral variables selected, because of their likely association with the leadership factor, were criminal backgrounds of the women subjects, involvement in prison homosexuality, level of education, and masculinity/femininity score. Using the Mann-Whitney U test to calculate the relationship between violence of crime committed and complaint leadership between violence of crime committed and complaint leadership, the study found that inmate subjects who had committed crimes of calculated violence, such as armed robbery, tended to assume leadership roles. The Mann-Whitney U also revealed a strong relationship between homosexual participation and each of the two dimensions of leadership. The relationship between educational level and leadership. The relationship between educational level and leadership roles was confirmed; the relationship between complaint leader and education was significant beyond .001, while the relationship between getting what one wants and education was significant beyond .01. Using Spearman's rho, no relationship was found between ranking measures of inmate leadership potential and percentage of masculine behavior (defined in terms of a rough, aggressive stereotype). The authors theorize that women scoring high on masculinity were probably considered by staff and other inmates as erratic troublemakers, thus they were not followed. Yet, inmates guilty of the most violent crimes, a separate index of aggressiveness, were accepted in complaint leadership roles. Evidently the key was not aggression but rather criminal sophistication. This somewhat elusive factor might also account for the significance of homosexual activity in explaining leadership differences. One major implication of this research is that classifications of offenders into offender types is a worthwhile pursuit. Six references and four tables are provided.
Index Term(s): Behavior patterns; Behavioral science research; Female inmates; Female sex roles; Homosexuality; Inmate classification; Interpersonal relations; Leadership; Psychological evaluation
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