Date of Award

Spring 5-19-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology (PhD)


Clinical Psychology

First Advisor/Committee Member

Lynette H. Bikos, Ph.D.

Second Advisor/Committee Member

David G. Stewart, Ph.D.

Third Advisor/Committee Member

Arthur G. Davis, Ph.D.


Incarceration presents unique stressors that affect psychological well-being. Identifying self-efficacy for different types of coping strategies to manage stressors may help treatment teams develop appropriate interventions aimed at reducing recidivism. Consequently, I developed and evaluated the preliminary psychometric properties of the Offender Coping Self-Efficacy Scale (OCSS). An initial pool of 47 items was used to assess inmates’ confidence in their ability to cope with stressors related to incarceration and re-entry. The scale was completed by a sample of inmates (N = 144) who were 18 years or older and serving time at one of two county jails. The majority of the participants were male (78.4%), White (51.4%), and had a high school diploma or equivalent (39.2%). About 60% of the participants had been sentenced and were serving their sentence in the county jail. Items were selected using standardized estimates, item-total correlations, and construct definitions. The final 30-items had an internal consistency alpha of .92, with subscale alphas ranging from .70 to .86. The OCSS’s underlying factor structure was examined using confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) of seven models, in addition to an exploratory factor analysis (EFA). Based on item-level analyses, the OCSS best fit a bi-factor model with three coping strategies and two settings (c2 [371; N = 144] = 733.293, p < .01, CFI = 0.82, and RMSEA = 0.083). A single-order, six-factor structure, of coping strategy and setting factors with a total OCSS had similar fit (c2 [395; N = 144] = 789.589, p < .001, CFI = 0.81, and RMSEA = 0.084). Structural equation modeling was used to estimate the OCSS’s construct validity in a nomological net of related constructs. A strong, positive correlation was found between the OCSS and a related measure of coping self-efficacy. Less strong correlations were found with the OCSS and measures of general self-efficacy, coping, career decision-making self-efficacy, and incarceration history. The OCSS was not significantly related to psychological well-being. The results of this study support that with continued research, the OCSS offers utility in assessing the likelihood of and supporting successful re-entry into the community.

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