The association of population density, reduced space, and uncomfortable temperatures with misconduct in a prison community

Am J Community Psychol. 1977 Sep;5(3):289-98. doi: 10.1007/BF00884696.


This study investigated the relation of population size, amount of personal space, and population density to the incidence of disruptive behavior over a 3-year period in a correctional institution for male youthful offenders. Population size was significantly correlated with the number but not the rate of disciplinary violations. The total amount of personal space and the index of population density were significantly correlated with both the number and the rate of violations. A post hoc analysis showed that the incidence of uncomfortably hot days had no relation to disruptive behavior. These results are contrasted with laboratory data on human crowding reporting no relation between population density and behavior pathology. It is suggested that the chronic high density explored in the present field study differs from temporarily crowded conditions produced in laboratory research on human crowding.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Crowding
  • Florida
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Personal Space*
  • Population Density*
  • Prisons*
  • Social Behavior Disorders / etiology*
  • Spatial Behavior*
  • Temperature*