A cross-sectional study was conducted in May 2007 on stress and stress self management among the prisoners and wardens of a prison in Selangor. This study was conducted as part of an elective posting for second year medical students and the topic was chosen to add on to the body of knowledge on stress among prisoners and wardens. A self administered questionnaire was distributed by random sampling and the respondents consisted of 100 prisoners and 97 wardens. Majority of the prisoners did not have stress with reference to interpersonal factors such as conflict with cellmates, conflict with wardens and conflict with inmates, For interpersonal factors, majority of the prisoners experienced stress because they felt bored (78%), thought they had no bright future (63%) and they also had no visitors (61%). Stress resulted in physical effects, whereby 67% admitted that they experienced health problems and 64% experienced sleep disturbance. Emotional effects of stress experienced by the prisoners were sadness (67%), anxiousness (63%) and confusion (56%). The major spiritual effect was regret (84%) followed by feeling closer to God (78%) and feeling high spirited (59%). The major social effects experienced by
the prisoners were low self esteem (63%) and embarrassment (58%). Methods of stress self management were prayers and conduct of religious activities (87%), sharing problems with friends (78%), doing recreational activities (77%), sleeping (72%) , doing a hobby (68) and seeking help from doctors (57%). As for the wardens, with reference to interpersonal factors, high level of stress was experience with reference ta prisoners behavior (82.5%) and problems with higher authorities (83.5 %), For intrapersonal factors, sleep disturbances (64%), career problems (76.3%), financial problems (73.2%) and feeling bored (75.3%) highly contributed to stress. Wardens physical effects were 38.1% health problems and 29.9% sleep disturbances. For emotional effects, must of them were depressed (54.6%), anxious (67%), angry (63.9%), confused (64.9%), frustrated (59.8%), threatened (53.6%) and patriotic (51.5%). The spiritual effect were feeling closer to God (86.6%), feeling responsible for duties (82.5%), regret doing the job (74.2%), feeling high spirited (58.8%). For social effects, low self esteem is the highest effect experienced (68%). Wardens managed stress by praying and conducting religious activities (91.8%), recreational activities (88.7%), doing a hobby (85.6%), sleeping (74.2%), and sharing problems (68%).