Home Community Corrections Feelings, Attitudes, Values and Assumptions about Prison Practice

Feelings, Attitudes, Values and Assumptions about Prison Practice


How prison practices are viewed can affect a chaplain’s motivation and performance when they are providing spiritual care. When one thinks of the practices in prisons, they may summon images of shows like Prison Break or Orange is the New Black. These shows can create many deep feelings about prison care that prison chaplains are not immune to.

Before entering a new line of work most people conduct research into the potential field of entry, but they also already possess preconceptions about what their job experience will be. Since chaplains are looking into entering a controversial workplace, a prison, they are likely to find objective articles and reports about their future work environment. This can cause a chaplain to begin their training with certain assumptions or attitudes. Assumptions are not bad in and of themselves because they allow a person to mentally sort information very quickly about all of the people that are met during a day (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). However, they can have negative impacts because they are normally accepted as a truth even though they have not been verified as such. This is dangerous because if an assumption is not challenged and verified as being true it is possible to treat a person incorrectly or unfairly (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). It can also hinder a person’s response in an emergency or when they are under extreme stress because under these circumstances a person tends to return to their base of values and assumptions (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). Assumptions are built by considering the age, language, education, life experience or hobbies of a person. They are built upon personal values. Whenever an assumption is used to judge another person it is usually paired with a judgement. The judgement could be that the person is more or less educated than the judger, more inferior or superior, or more or less deserving of any item or right (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). All of these factors involving assumptions can affect a chaplain’s job performance or their motives when they are beginning to work with a group of individuals, so a chaplain must ensure that they are providing fair spiritual care to all of the prisoners. Overall, assumptions can be useful, but they always need to be verified for validity so that people are being treated respectfully and a chaplain’s performance and motives are equal for all prisoners.

Upholding certain values is another aspect of being a chaplain. Values affect chaplain’s motives and performance when providing spiritual care. Values are a unique part of a person because they vary from individual to individual but are generally similar within cultural groups (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). It is also important to remember that younger and older generations, even if they are within the same culture and religion as the chaplain, can hold drastically different values. A prison chaplain must consider these factors without presuming a person’s values or performing their job based on cultural stereotypes. Values can directly impact a chaplain’s job performance because it can affect the behaviors that they notice or ignore. For example, in some cultures, making constant eye contact is viewed as insulting or wrong. If a prisoner who follows these cultural norms begins making lasting eye contact and that chaplain is unaware of the cultural stigma of this behavior then they would not know that the person is either upset, uncomfortable, etc. (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). Since the chaplain’s values are based on their own culture, and their culture makes eye contact, they are not going to notice the inconsistency and therefore will not reach out to the inmate. The chaplain’s values can also determine what actions they encourage or discourage the inmates from doing and what information they decide to educate the inmates on (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). Decisions are also frequently based on a person’s values: how a chaplain prioritizes their work and keeps their records and what information they choose to record or not (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). Lastly, a chaplain’s values can affect their motives or work when they are forming relationships with the inmates (National Illicit Drug Strategy, 2004). How a chaplain treats their inmates and forms relationships with them will be based on the foundation of their values. The chaplain must consider what their motivations are when forming relationships. Are they only looking to provide spiritual care to the inmate or would they like to mentor them? When a chaplain is aware of their motivations they can ensure that their values are true and as they should be. Values are shaped by a chaplain’s culture, religion and uprising but they are important to be conscious of because they directly impact the chaplain’s work performance and motives when they are providing spiritual care.

The last aspect to consider is feelings and attitudes and how they can contribute to a chaplain’s motivations and performance within their job. An attitude is a person’s “opinions, beliefs, and feelings about aspects of an environment” (Organizational Behaviour, 2010). How a chaplain works is directly influenced by his attitude. Two specific attitudes are important: job satisfaction and organizational commitment (Organizational Behaviour, 2010). If a chaplain is satisfied in their job they may provide a wider variety or better quality of spiritual care to the inmates. This is because they are happy with where they are, and they are satisfied with how their work is contributing to the company. This leads them to continue working hard to improve their work. A chaplain may also be more motivated to perform better in their work if they are committed to the organization that they are working for. For example, if a chaplain is committed to their organization because they feel like the organization is doing important work and that they are contributing to make that work great they will be motivated to perform better. Feelings and attitudes can easily be overlooked when considering a chaplain’s work performance and motivations but they are important aspects and must always be considered.


National Illicit Drug Strategy (2004). Working with Young People: Learner’s Workbook. Retrieved from http://health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/drugtreat-pubs-front4-wk-toc~drugtreat-pubs-front4-wk-secb~drugtreat-pubs-front4-wk-secb-4~drugtreat-pubs-front4-wk-secb-4-1

Unknown (2010). Organizational Behaviour. University of Minnesota Libraries Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/content/3961F80B1B5985ABCA257BF000193A16/$File/module4lw.pdf





Migraines and Mental Health: Is There a Connection?

Headaches are a pain. They interfere with functioning in daily life and engaging with others. Migraines, on the other hand, are a whole different level of headache pain. Every sound is amplified to a roar; dim light is as piercing as staring at the sun after standing in the dark. The pain is so intense that it can bring nausea and dizziness. Anyone who has experienced a migraine would gladly do anything to stop the pain.

Migraines are caused by changes in the nervous system (Migraine, 2017). The pain they cause can last for a few hours to a few days. Many times there are warning signs a few days before the onset of a migraine and progress through four stages (Migraine, 2017). The first phase is the prodrome stage. In this stage, there may be subtle changes in the body that signal the coming of a migraine. These changes can include constipation, mood changes, frequent yawning, food cravings and increased thirst and urination (Migraine, 2017).

The second phase is aura. An aura can occur alone before the migraine begins, or during the migraine. This phase is not very common, but it can include symptoms such as seeing shapes or flashes of light, temporary vision loss, feeling pinpricks in hands and arms, hearing sounds or music or feeling weak in the limbs on one side of the body (Migraine, 2017). These symptoms can last 20 minutes to an hour.

The third stage is the attack. This is the stage of the classic migraine pain. The final stage is the post-drome phase in which the person feels drained or weak for a few days after the attack (Migraine, 2017).

In the past decade or more there has been a growing body of research that shows a relationship between migraines and mental health (Antonaci et al, 2011; Ratcliffe et al, 2009). Antonaci et al reported that there is growing evidence that the presence of mental health conditions is a risk factor in transforming migraine headaches from periodic to chronic (2011). Many studies have found a significant association between migraines and lifetime major depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol abuse or dependence (Ratcliffe et al, 2009). Other studies, while supporting the association between migraines, anxiety and depression, were not able to replicate the connection between migraine and drug and alcohol abuse (Antonaci et al, 2009).

A different study found “that recurrent brief depression, panic disorder, phobia and generalized anxiety were more frequent among individuals with migraines than among individuals with tension headache or no headache” (Ratcliffe et al, 2009).

Some research has found a link between migraine with aura and suicide thoughts and attempts (Antonaci et al, 2011). “Similar findings were recently obtained in a sample of adolescents aged 13–15 years. A higher frequency of suicidal ideation was observed in younger adolescents with migraine with aura or with high frequency of attacks, these associations being independent of depressive symptoms” (Antonaci et al, 2011).

Anxiety typically precedes a migraine, while migraines precede depression (Antonaci et al, 2011; Ratcliffe et al, 2009). The comorbidity relationship is strengthened the longer a person has chronic migraine pain (Ratcliffe et al, 2009).

Though there is no definite proof of why anxiety and other mental health disorders are frequently comorbid with migraines, there are a few theories. First psychiatric disorders may cause migraines (Antonaci et al, 2011; Ratcliffe et al, 2009). Or it could be the other way around; migraines could influence the development of psychiatric disorder because of the presence of intense and long lasting pain (Antonaci et al, 2011). A third theory is that migraines and mental health disorders have shared etiological factors such as an improperly functioning gland or neurotransmitter, which causes both (Antonaci et al, 2011; Ratcliffe et al, 2009). It has been proposed that abnormalities in serotonin levels may play a role in both migraines and mental health issues (Ratcliffe et al, 2009).

Medication is a proven way to treat both migraines and mental health disorders. Those who suffer from either should talk with their health care provider about treatment options. There are also treatment options that can be done at home in conjunction with medication. Sleep is important in maintaining good mental health. It is also a method to help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks (Migraines, 2015). Make sure to establish a good pre-bedtime routine and have time to unwind before going to bed. Poor mental health and migraines are both triggered by the lack of sleep (Migraines, 2015). Moving to a calm environment is also helpful at the first signs of a migraine (Migraines, 2015). A dark, cool room has been helpful to many people. Clam activities are also helpful for those who suffer from mental health disorders (Complementary).

Life can be challenging enough without migraines. Taking steps to relieve migraines and mental health disorders may help to improve the quality of life.



Antonaci, F., Nappi, G., Galli, F., Manzoni, G., Calabresi, P., & Costa, A. (2011). Migraine and psychiatric comorbidity: A review of clinical findings. The Journal of Headache and Pain, 12(2), 115-125. doi:10.1007/s10194-010-0282-4

Complementary & Alternative Treatments. Retrieved from https://adaa.org/finding-help/treatment/complementary-alternative-treatment

Migraine. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/symptoms-causes/syc-20360201

Migraines: Simple steps to head off the pain. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/migraine-headache/in-depth/migraines/art-20047242

Ratcliffe, G. E., Enns, M. W., Jacobi, F., Belick, S., & Sareen, J. (2009). The relationship between migraine and mental disorders in a population-based sample. General Hospital Psychiatry, 31(1), 14-19. doi:10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2008.09.006


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