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Title: "What we're saying makes sense so I've subscribed to it and I try to live by it" : a qualitative exploration of prisoners' motivation to participate in an innovative rehabilitation programme through the lens of self-determination theory
Author: Bunce, Annie E.
ISNI:       0000 0004 8503 1139
Awarding Body: University of Surrey
Current Institution: University of Surrey
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis draws upon self-determination theory (SDT) and qualitative interviews with (mostly) long-serving prisoners participating in an innovative strengths-based rehabilitation programme in three English prisons. It aimed to explore prisoners' initial motivation for joining the programme; the ways in which motivation to participate changed over time; and the usefulness of SDT's conceptualisation of motivation - as relatively extrinsic or intrinsic according to fulfilment of basic psychological needs (BPNs) for competence, autonomy and relatedness - for exploring prisoners' motivation. It contributes to the literature by considering motivation to participate through the lens of SDT; focusing on an atypical rehabilitation programme; enhancing qualitative insight into prisoners' motivation to participate in rehabilitation programmes; exploring participants' perceptions of their motivation over time; and the potential for programme participation to influence prisoners' early-stage desistance. Prisoners were initially motivated by a combination of motives that are variously extrinsic and intrinsic in nature. These include to 'give back'; to aid their rehabilitative journeys; to gain skills; a lack of alternative opportunities in the prison; and to enhance their release prospects. Motives relating to giving back and personal rehabilitation were sustained and/or reinforced over time. Supporting SDT predictions, prisoners' motivation fluctuated according to how far participating satisfied BPNs for competence, relatedness and autonomy. Internal motivation was enhanced by an increasing sense of empowerment, self-mastery and achievement/responsibility; positive connections with others; and experiencing therapeutic change. Prisoners' internalisation of motivation to make amends primarily drove continued participation and reinforced early intentions to desist. Constraints within the programme and/or wider prison context sometimes undermined motivation, thus external motives also influenced motivation over time. However, prisoners' continued partially extrinsic motivation was not as detrimental to coexisting autonomous forms of motivation as SDT would predict. These findings have implications for applying SDT in the prison context, for academic research, rehabilitative practice and prison policy.
Supervisor: Bullock, Karen ; McCarthy, Daniel Sponsor: Dawes Trust
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral