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Title: Impulsivity and addictive behaviours in prisoners
Author: Kitchenham, Nathan Sean
ISNI:       0000 0004 5350 2477
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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Background: Addiction presents a significant problem for many in prison, yet this group remains relatively understudied in research exploring associated psychological phenomena. Impulsivity has been established as one important psychological factor associate with addiction in the general population and it is of interest to broaden the scope of such investigation to relevant groups. Aims and Objectives: The current study primarily aimed to study the relationship between impulsivity and addictive behaviours in a sample of prisoners, including use of a range of substances and problem gambling. A further objective was to support ongoing developments in the field of impulsivity research, which consider the importance of conceptualising impulsivity as a multifaceted construct. Method: Seventy-two prisoners were recruited from a male prison in south London. Associations between their engagement with addictive behaviours and level of impulsivity were explored both for a trait measure of impulsivity and behavioural measures of two specific facets of impulsivity; all previously associated with addiction in the wider literature. Results: High rates of engagement with addictive behaviours were found, consistent with previous research of prisoners. However associations between impulsivity and addictive behaviours were highly varied depending on the variables under study. Of note lifetime frequent use of only two substances (crack/cocaine and opiates) were found to strongly associate with either elevated trait or behavioural impulsivity. In particular one subscale of trait impulsivity was found to be significantly predictive of frequent crack/cocaine use in the sample. Conclusion: The variance in findings suggests a need for more thorough and selective investigation of how different types of impulsivity may or may not relate to different addictive behaviours in the prisoner population. This would help support firmer conclusions being drawn on the nature of these relationships. The current findings should be considered in the context of limited and inconsistent related research of prisoners to date; however do highlight important areas of prisoner need and potential areas of research interest to consider in future large-scale investigations.
Supervisor: Huddy, Vyvyan Charles; Valmaggia, Lucia Rita Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available