Research interests

In my PhD project I plan to develop and validate an imprisonment-appropriate personality inventory.

The main prognostic questions psychologists working in prisons need to deal with are early prison release, paroles and day paroles and the placement in open or closed correctional facilities.
The legal systems explicitly states what has to be considered when answering these questions. Examining these statutory requirements it becomes evident, that the prisoner´s personality is one important aspect that has to be considered. This juridically required focus on personality is in line with results of past research. Personality traits have been proven to be  relevant predictors of deviant behavior (Andrews & Bonta, 2010), recidivism (Gendreau, Little, & Goggin, 1996; Olver, Stockdale, & Wormith, 2014; Steiner, Cauffman, & Duxbury, 1999; Tinklenberg, Steiner, Huckaby, & Tinklenberg, 1996) and institutional misconduct (Holsinger, Lowenkamp, & Latessa, 2006).
Hence personality plays an important role for legal and empirical reasons when answering the main questions in the penal system. However, those personality inventories that are established in prisons (see Archer et al., 2006) appear inadequate because of their unreasonable number of items (e. g. Personality Assessment Inventory, PAI, Morey, 1991), their deficient psychometric properties or their lack of theoretical foundation (e. g. Minnesota Personality Inventory–2, MMPI-2, Butcher et al., 2001). Considering the serious consequences of prognostic misdeterminations in forensic settings it is stringently required to implement a practicable, theoretically well-grounded personality inventory whose psychometric quality is ascertained for self- and informant reports.

To develop such an inventory we plan the following three steps. First, we investigate the psychometric quality of the original self- and informant report PID-5 in a pilot study. Based on this information and the qualitative results of  interviews with participants we select, adapt and add items to meet the special requirements of the forensic setting (e.g. basic language level, imprisonment-appropriate wording, behavior-related questions, specification of an reference group). In a third step, we validate the original and the imprisonment-appropriate version of the PID-5 in a large sample.

Based on this design the following questions will be investigated:
1.    Does the factorial structure of the imprisonment-appropriate version of the PID-5 show a better model fit than the original version of the PID-5 in a sample of condemned prisoners?
2.    Are reliability criteria in the imprisonment-appropriate version of the PID-5 superior to those of the original version of the PID-5 in a sample of condemned prisoners?
3.    Is the convergent validity of the imprisonment-appropriate version of the PID-5 comparable to the original version of the PID-5 in a sample of condemned prisoners?
4.    Does the imprisonment-appropriate version of the PID-5 show stronger associations to the prisoners conduct in the penal institution and statistical risk score than the original version of the PID-5 in a sample of condemned prisoners?

In short, my research interests are the following:

•    Psychometric transferability of psychological inventories to samples of prisoners
•    Development of imprisonment-appropriate inventories
•    Prognostic relevance of personality traits


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