Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Peter N.S. Hoaken


There is a vast amount of data linking antisocial behaviours and deficits in executive cognitive functions (ECFs); however, there is a dearth of empirical research to address whether ECF abilities are being affected by correctional rehabilitation programming. Using a pre/post design, ECF performance of male inmates who completed a violence, family violence, or substance abuse rehabilitation program, was compared to ECFs of controls. Results indicated that across the six measures of ECF, including behavioural and self-report measures, only 2 of 10 variables showed a change across groups over time. Therefore, strong support for the notion that correctional programming is improving the ECF of offenders was not evident. However, the current sample displayed relatively unimpaired ECFs during the pre assessment, indicating fewer impairments compared with other forensic samples. In addition to measuring ECFs, changes in motivation for change and criminal attitudes were also examined. After completing programming, inmates displayed an increase in motivation for change, and a general decrease in criminal attitudes. Implications, recommendations, and areas of future research are discussed.