Female prisoners’ understanding of ‘bullying’ and their methods of coping: A multinational perspective

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  • HMPS Morton Hall
  • University of Leicester


Whilst prison bullying is a well-researched form of aggressive behaviour, recent studies have suggested that there may be discrepancy between how prisoners and researchers understand the term ‘bullying’. Interviews with 26 female prisoners were subject to constant comparison framework analysis. More than 150 themes were identified. These suggested that whilst there is overall agreement between prisoners and researchers as to what behaviours constitute bullying, a consensus does not exist within the prisoner population. Behaviours identified as bullying behaviours by prisoners are also reported as methods of coping. Cultural differences in behaviour and how these relate to perceptions of aggression were identified by the women prisoners. The findings of this study have implications for researching bullying in institutions such as prisons, and for managing and intervening with bullies in prisons.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)649-670
JournalPsychology, Crime and Law
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2010