Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Patrick M. Jenlink

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Warfield

Third Advisor

Dr. Dennis O. Simpson


This research was designed to achieve two purposes. First, it ascertained what modes were preferred by inmates to resolve conflict in a correctional setting as measured on the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Mode Instrument. Second, it measured whether participation in a 12-hour, conflict resolution, cognitive treatment program would significantly change the inmate’s ability to handle conflict in a more positive manner.

There were three major components to this research. First, a group of 66 inmates from the Kent County Correctional Facility Honor Camp in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was tested using the Thomas-Kilmann Conflict Resolution Mode Instrument. Second, using randomization, the participants were placed in an experimental group, educational group, or recreational group. All three groups met four times during the same 30-day period for three hours. The experimental group received 12 hours of conflict resolution training, the educational group participated in a 12-hour education program, and the recreational group was assigned to a 12-hour recreation period. Third, all three groups were retested and their scores analyzed to determine any significant effect of the treatment program.

There were two sets of data required for the study. The first set was the pretest and posttest scores of each participant on the Thomas-Kilmann ConflictMode Instrument. The second set of data included each inmate’s age, race, marital status, educational level, and criminal record.

The inmates’ scores on both the pretest and posttest were compared to the original norm group to determine differences by means of the preferred modes of conflict resolution. Second, the experimental group’s pretest scores were compared to their posttest scores by means in the five modes of conflict resolution. Third, the gain scores between the experimental group, the educational group, and the recreational group were compared by means. Fourth, the preferred modes of conflict resolution based on the inmates’ personal characteristics, (e.g. race, education, age, marital status and criminal history) were compared by means. The level of significance was set at .05.

The results of the study illustrated significant differences between the inmates and the original norm group on both the pretest and posttest in preferred modes of conflict resolution. Because of these differences, it was concluded that inmates needed training in conflict resolution. Second, the experimental group’s pretest and posttest scores revealed a statistically significant decline in selecting the competing mode. It was concluded that learning did occur within the treatment program. Third, a significant difference was recorded between the recreational group and experimental group in the competing mode. Since the experimental group’s mean score was reduced by -1.0, it was concluded that the treatment program was effective. Fourth, there were no significant differences discovered between the inmates’ preferred modes of conflict resolution and their personal characteristics. Therefore, it was concluded that a cognitive training program in conflict resolution would not have to be custom designed to fit the needs of one’s personal characteristics such as age, race, education, marital status, and criminal record.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access