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Examining the distorted perceptions of some prison inmates in relation to their global functioning.

The study was designed for purpose of making meaningful comparisons between the perceived world of 46 men presently in prison in relation to another corresponding group not in prison. The comparisons were based on scores for The Global Functioning Test (GLOBAL) (Cassell, 1993a & b; and Cassel and DeMoulin, 1995), which has 200 true/false items, with 25 of them in each of the eight parts. The eight parts were further divided into two major sections with four part scores in each. Part I is designed to asses one's level of maturity; while part II is to assess level of immaturity (as depicted by titles of part scores):

Part I Maturity:

1. Self Esteem EST 2. Common Sense COM 3. Assertiveness ASS 4. Locus of Control LOC

Part II - Immaturity:

5. Anxiety ANX 6. Repression REP 7. Pouting POU 8. Depression DEP

Total Immaturity - IMMTOT

Total Maturity - MATTOT

Theory Underlying Test

The test was developed for use as a supplement to the DSM-IV (1994) in health care, and which seeks to assess the level of wellness of individuals in relation to three areas of life. The "global" connotation deriving from including more than effectiveness in the work place, and to include the following:

1. Productive endeavor and work, 2. Learning and school, and 3. Social and personal.

The notion of using "global functioning" as a major index for assessing level of wellness; with the clear inference that such "global functioning" is directly and significantly related to effectiveness in work, school, and social derives directly from the research over several years by the American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IV, 1994). There were 13 work groups involved in the study consisting of 27 members. Twelve DSM-IV field trials were used in the development and validation of the Global Assessment of Functioning (GAF) Scale contained in DSM-IV. It, of course, is a "rating scale" and The Global Functioning Test (GLOBAL) was designed as a major support instrument for AXIS V, the GAF rating scale.

The "maturity/immaturity" concept derives directly from the DSM-IV research, but The Global Functioning Test (GLOBAL) is based largely on the longitudinal study by Block & Block at Berkely (1988) where they followed a group of largely white (Caucasian) youngsters from age four to eighteen years of age. They were seeking to identify the syndrome underlying deviant behavior, as opposed to symptoms. The three principal findings described as: (1) Interpersonal relations, (2) Subjective distress, and (3) Ego control may be interpreted as general immaturity Vs. maturity. The eight parts of the GLOBAL test are based largely on the Block and Block research findings.

Groups Involved

The study involved two separate groups of individuals: (1) Forty-six male inmates presently in prison, and (2) a group of sixty males not presently in prison for use as a control group.

Prison Inmates

This group, the principal group of the study, was comprised of 46 males presently involved in an educational program designed to prepare such person to become productive and reliable members of society. They ranged in age from 20 to 52 years with a mean age of 20.07 and a standard deviation of 7.6 years. None of the individuals were reported to be married in terms of the prison records.

Comparative Group

This group was comprised of 60 males, some of whom were married, and none of whom were presently in prison, or known to have a prison record. They ranged in age form 20 to 46 years with a mean age of 31.10, and with a standard deviation age of 6.51 years. All individuals were taken from the records of volunteers who took the test as a portion of the larger group involved in the development and standardization of The Global Functioning Test (GLOBAL).

Differences in GLOBAL Scores Between Groups

The data contained in Table 1 below shows a comparison between the mores on The Global Functioning Test (GLOBAL) for the prison members and the other population. A t-statistic between means was used for the comparison. It should be noted that there was no statistically significant difference between the mean age for the prison members and the other individuals of the control group.

Maturity Scores

Three of the four scores depicting perceived mature behavior-EST, ASS and LOC-showed statistically significant differences at the 0.000 level. This was equally true for the total maturity score, MATTOT. Only the COM score was not significant, but since it showed a difference of less maturity for the prison group, along with the other three scores, it was considered to be statistically significant when using the sign test. Thus, the prison inmates tended to show significant less maturity than did the members of the other group for all four scores; as well as for the total score.

Immaturity Group

All four scores on the immaturity part-ANX, REP.POU and DEP showed a statistically significant difference between the prison inmates and other members at the 0.000 level of confidence. This, of course, means that the two groups were really different in term of their perceptions of their degree of immaturity as measured by the four part scores. For only two of the four part scores, difference was in the direction expected, and as measures of "immaturity:" REP (child like), and DEP (futility). The "distorted" portion of the prison inmate perceptions has to do with ANX (anxiety) and POU (pouting or withdrawal), which were significantly higher for the non-prison population. Also, the total score for immaturity, IMMTOT, was significant higher for the non-prison males. This, of course was contrary to the usual expectation that prison inmates tend to be the more immature (Cassel, 1970; and Cassel and Clayton, 1961).

Global Functioning

In terms of overall global functioning, as measured by the GLOBAL test scores (score labeled GLOBAL), the members of the prison population with a mean GLOBAL score of 286.15 showed significantly less overall global functioning than did the other group with a GLOBAL score of 356.53. while the two separate sections are not in agreement, in a positive way the prison inmates tend not to be mature. Also, it is clear that global functioning tends to be an excellent measure for determining readiness for becoming a productive member of society of prison inmates.

Reliability of GLOBAL Scores

The data contained in Table 3 below show the reliability of the scores on the GLOBAL test for the group of 47 prisoners. It was computed by use of a Pearson r where the Spearman/Brown formula is typically used with a split-half computation, the reliability for the GLOBAL part scores would be expected to be higher than depicted; since they only comprise a small fraction of the total GLOBAL test. Except for EST and COM all scores obtained excellent reliability.

Independence of Organization for GLOBAL Scores

A Principal Component Factor Analysis was computed for the eight part scores on the GLOBAL test to ascertain each of their independence of organization. Four of the eight part scores, for this prison male population, showed excellent independence of organization, and with no significant destructors evident as shown in Tables 4 and 5 below. The ASS score, also, showed good independence of organization, but with REP being a significant distractor. Clearly, ANX, DEP and REP were depicted as a general factor. The high loading of REP on the ASS factor is consistent with the distorted perceptions described for the prison inmate group. None of the five factors contained less than 14 percent of the total variance involved.
Table 1
Comparison of Mean GLOBAL Scores for Prisoners and Others (N=106)

         Inmates     Others    Difference   t-Statistic   Prob.

1. AGE (nearest 6 months):

   M       30.07      31.10       1.03          0.752      n.s.
   SD       7.65       6.51


   M       53.74      78.17      24.43          9.628      0.000
   SD       7.34      15.95


   M       52.44      53.33       0.89          0.392      n.s.
   SD       9.62      13.04


   M       48.78      62.07      13.29          5.201      0.000
   SD      12.72      13.27


   M       62.96      75.50      12.54          5.143      0.000

6. MATTOT (Total Maturity):

   M      217.91     267.07      49.16          9.173      0.000
   SD      19.13      32.23


   M       41.30      63.532      2.15          8.140      0.000
   SD      10.77      15.93

8. REPRESSION (child like):

   M       54.63      41.17      -13.46         4.999      0.000
   SD      14.20      13.38

9. POUTING (withdrawal):

   M       20.35      63.50       43.15        14.723      0.000
   SD      16.26      13.88

10. DEPRESSION (unsolvable):

   M       33.39       9.40      -23.991        1.427      0.000
   SD      11.66       9.93

11. IMMTOT (Total Immaturity):

   M      149.67      177.60      27.93         3.901      0.000
   SD      40.20       33.45

12. GLOBAL (global functioning total):

   M      286.15      356.53      70.38         5.664      0.000
   SD      55.32       68.93

Table 3
Reliability of GLOBAL Scores (N=46)

GLOBAL Scores               Pearson r     Spearman/Brown r

1. EST Vs. MATTOT              267              421
2. COM Vs. MATTOT              339              507
3. ASS Vs. MATTOT              724              845
4. LOC Vs. MATTOT              503              668
5. MATTOT Vs. GLOBAL           687              814
6. ANX Vs. IMMTOT              704              820
7. REP Vs. IMMTOT              764              866
8. POU Vs. IMMTOT              770              867
9. DEP Vs. IMMTOT              793              884
10 IMMTOT Vs. GLOBAL          -722              845

Table 5
Identify of Factors for GLOBAL Test in Table 4

Factors          Description            Sign    Identity Loadings

1. FACTOR I      General                  +     ANX, DEP & REP
2. FACTOR II     Bi-polar                 +     POU
4. FACTOR IV     Principal Component      -     LOC
5. FACTOR V      Principal Component      -     COM
6. FACTOR VI     Principal Component      +     ASS w/ REP


Block, J., Block, J.H., & Keyes, S. (1988). Longitudinally foretelling drug usage in adolescence: Early childhood personality and environmental precursors. child Development, 59, 336-355.

Cassel, R.N. (1969). Functional dimensions of motivational structure in man. Education, 90(4), 336-338.

Cassel, R.N. (1970). Delinquency and crime are a function of human decision error. Correctional Education, XXII(4), 20-23.

Cassel, R.M. (1973). Decision dynamics in relation to confrontation. Journal of Psychosynthesis, 5(1), 26-29.

Cassel, R.N. (1986). Forging an ego-ideal as an extension of one's ego-status. Psychology, 23(1), 30-35.

Cassel, R.M. (1993a). Cutting edge: The Global Functioning Test (GFT) (Assessing level of wellness). National Forum of Educational and Supervision Journal. 1-(3), 51-60.

Cassel, R.N. (1993b). Developing global functioning of military personnel: An essential element of Air Force leadership. Instructional Psychology, XX(3), 192-196.

Cassel, R.M, and Clayton, J. (196.1). A preliminary analysis of certain social concepts of women in a correctional institution. Sociology and Social Research, 45(3), 316-319.

Cassel, R.N. and DeMoulin, D.F. (1995). The Global Functioning Test (GLOBAL). Chula Vista, California: PROJECT INNOVATION.

DSM-IV. (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Washington, D.C.: American Psychiatric Association.
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Author:DeMoulin, Donald F.
Date:Jun 22, 1996
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