Specifics of Psychological Defences in Prison Personnel Depending on their Empathy Level



In the today's world people are interacting less and less time with other people and consequently they tend not to get involved with others' problems or care much about the emotions of others. Hence, this raises an issue of empathy in the modern society. Presently, the subject of more extensive research is the professional aspect of empathy in the person-to-person domain. In our study empathy is viewed as a process that can be affected by external factors. This article demonstrates the results of dynamic variations of empathy which occur in interactions between the personnel and the convicts and persons held in custody. In addition to that we researched the relationship between empathy and psychological defences - to demonstrate how the affective component of one's behavior varies depending on the adverse effects of external factors. Our findings highlight certain aspects of the activity of the penal system personnel, which will be helpful in providing psychological counselling for them. The data obtained make it possible to create new or update existing correctional and prevention programs in order to minimize the negative impact of external factors on the behavior and psychological state of the prison personnel.

General Information

Keywords: penal correction system, empathy, psychological defences, personnel, penitentiary system

Journal rubric: Penitentiary Psychology and Penal Practice

Article type: scientific article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.17759/psylaw.2021110104

For citation: Borisova D.P. Specifics of Psychological Defences in Prison Personnel Depending on their Empathy Level [Elektronnyi resurs]. Psikhologiya i pravo = Psychology and Law, 2021. Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 37–47. DOI: 10.17759/psylaw.2021110104. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


  1. Borisova D. P. Empaticheskie sposobnosti u sotrudnikov UIS, rabotayushchikh v neposredstvennom kontakte s osuzhdennymi i litsami, soderzhashchimisya pod strazhei: Vyp. kvalifikats. rabota: Magist. dis.: Napravlenie 37.04.01 «Psikhologiya». Magisterskaya programma «Yuridicheskaya psikhologiya: sudebno-ekspertnaya praktika» [Empathic abilities of UIS employees who work in direct contact with convicts and persons in custody]. Mosk. gos. psikhologo-ped. un-t. Moscow, 2016. 90 p.
  2. Vlasenko YU.M. Mekhanizmy psihologicheskoj zashchity u studentov special'nosti «social'naya rabota» s raznymi urovnyami empatii [Mechanisms of psychological protection in students of the specialty «Social work» with different levels of empathy].Innovacionnye obrazovatel'nye tekhnologii [Innovative educational technologies]. 2015, no. 2 (42), pp. 66-70.
  3. Goncharenko E.S. Razvitie empatijnogo potenciala lichnosti (na materiale issledovaniya detej 7-8 let) : dis. … kand. Psihologicheskih nauk. [Development of the empathic potential of the individual (based on the study of children aged 7-8 years)]. Krasnodar, 2003. 244 p.
  4. Eleferenko I.O. Empatiya kak osnovanie kommunikacii [Empathy as the basis of communication]. «Kul'turnaya zhizn' YUga Rossii» [Cultural life in the South of Russia], 2010, no. 4 (38), pp. 33-36.
  5. Kachkina L.S. Psikhologo-pedagogicheskie usloviya formirovaniya sotsial'no-psikhologicheskoi kompetentnosti sotrudnikov ugolovno-ispolnitel'noi sistemy: avtoref. dis. … kand. psikh. nauk: 19.00.07 [Psychological and pedagogical conditions for the formation of socio-psychological competence of employees of the penal system. Ph. D. (Psychology) Thesis]. L.S. Kachkina; Kemerovo, 2012, 25 p.
  6. Meshcherekov B. Bol'shoj psihologicheskij slovar' [Large psychological Dictionary]. Zinchenko. – [Elektronnyj resurs] URL: https://www.gumer.info/ bibliotek_Buks/Psihol/dict/08.php (data obrashcheniya: 24.05.2020).
  7. Semenova Yu.V. Individual'no-psikhologicheskie osobennosti sotrudnikov pravookhranitel'nykh organov [Individual psychological characteristics of law enforcement officers]. Vestnik Buryatskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta [Bulletin of the Buryat state University], 2009, no. 5, pp. 175–181.
  8. Tarnovskaya N.N. Vzaimosvyaz' empatii i vnutrennei konfliktnosti kak psikhologicheskoe uslovie zhizneobespecheniya sotrudnikov GPS MChS Rossii pri vneshneshtatnykh situatsiyakh: avtoref. dis. … kand. psikhol. nauk: 05.26.03 [The relationship between empathy and internal conflict as a psychological condition for life support of employees of the Russian emergencies Ministry in emergency situations. Ph. D. (Psychology) Thesis]. N.N. Tarnovskaya; MChS Rossii. Sankt-Peterburgskii universitet Gosudarstvennoi protivopozharnoi sluzhby.  Sankt-Peterburg, 2008. 24 p.

Information About the Authors

Darya P. Borisova, graduate of the Faculty of Legal Psychology, MSUPE, Moscow, Russia, ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2375-365X, e-mail: Borisovad.p@mail.ru



Total: 553
Previous month: 9
Current month: 18


Total: 157
Previous month: 5
Current month: 13