HomeLEAPS: Miriam College Faculty Research Journalvol. 24 no. 1 (2004)

The Prisoner's Self-Concept

Jesus Enrique G. Saplala

Discipline: Psychology



Self-concept is defined as a product of the person’s experiences, values, meanings and beliefs (Gilliland, 1989) and the incarceration of an individual may drastically change this concept especially if his self-concept is very much dependent on the environment. This paper focuses on the prisoner’s concept of his self-based on a researcher-constructed questionnaire, konsepto ng sarili. Sixty-eight descriptions of one’s self were used as texts for content analysis.

Questions on the prisoner’s feelings and thoughts (nararamdaman at naiisip), how he would introduce himself (paano mo ipakikilala ang iyong sarili), how similar or different he is from others (ano ang pagkakapareho at pagkakaiba mo sa iba) and what are the things that he values in life (anu-ano ang iyong pinahahalagahan sa buhay) are part of the researcher-constructed questionnaire.

Results show that most of the prisoners introduce themselves according to how they would behave in prison (masipag akong tao, magaling makisama, pinahahalagahan ang kapwa) with a few using self-descriptions based on their thoughts and feelings. Their concept of self in relation to others are described in simple and sometimes, literal way (Pare-pareho kaming bilanggo…inmate), or according to the beliefs they stand for (Lahat kami may prinsipyo), or an emphasis on giving importance to himself (may paniniwala at pagpapahalaga sa sarili).