Original Articles

Offenders with Mental Disorders in a South African Prison Population: Profiling the Behavioural Characteristics on Mental Illness

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 23, issue 1, 2013 , pages: 133–138
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2013.10820607
Author(s): Johan PrinslooUniversity of South Africa,


This study validates a protocol to identify inmates with institutional adjustment difficulty from mental disorder, and who might have a need for therapeutic programming of a cognitive nature. The Self-Appraisal Questionnaire (SAQ) was administered to a total of 236 South African male inmates of whom 102 were diagnosed with mental health disorders, mostly Schizophrenia and psychotic related disorders (44%). The data were analysed using a variety of multivariate procedures, including logistical regression to model the behavioural characteristics to the inmates' mental health state. Findings suggest that there are significant differences between mentally ill and non-mentally ill participants. The subscales of anger, criminal tendencies and anti-social personality have a significantly higher mean score for mentally ill respondents, while the subscale “conduct problems” remains a borderline case.

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