Date of this Version

January 2007

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Neville, L., Miller, S. & Fritzon, Katarina (2007) Understanding change in a therapeutic community: An action systems approach, Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology, Vol. 18, Iss. 2, pp. 181-203.

View Journal of Forensic Psychiatry & Psychology homepage.
Copyright ©Routledge, 2007.

2007 HERDC submission


This study aims to provide a framework for assessing and modelling behavioural changes in a prison therapeutic community. A behavioural checklist able to monitor both positive and negative behaviours throughout the course of therapy, paying particular attention to offence-paralleling behaviours, was devised. Content analysis of therapy notes on n=68 residents identified 35 variables. The study investigated the hypothesis that it is possible to model behavioural change over the course of therapy using an action systems framework. This framework has been used to classify different forms of anti-social behaviour (Fritzon & Brun, 2005; Miller & Fritzon, in press) and pro-social behaviour (Shye, 1985). The four modes of action system functioning were consistently identified during therapy using Smallest Space Analysis. Paired sample t-tests of residents at the beginning and end periods of therapy suggested that residents progress from the antisocial to pro-social behaviours from within each mode. Overall, findings support the prison therapeutic community treatment model, as well as demonstrating the appropriateness of the action systems framework for understanding the nature and function of positive and negative therapeutic behaviours.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.