This paper discusses data from the LoneStar Project, with the intent of examining depressive symptoms among currently incarcerated men with differential exposure to a loved one’s death.
The death of a loved one generates adverse and potentially damaging consequences for surviving family members and friends. The challenges of bereavement can be especially severe when experienced by incarcerated persons who must cope with and grieve the death while incarcerated. Yet, limited research evaluates bereavement among incarcerated persons and whether factors such as social support buffer against health-related consequences. Using data from the LoneStar Project, a study of 802 incarcerated men in Texas, the authors examine depressive symptoms among currently incarcerated persons with differential exposure to a loved one’s death, such as immediate family, friends, extended family. Importantly, a high rate of death exists among incarcerated persons’ loved ones, with 41 percent in the sample losing someone on the outside during their final year of incarceration. However, the authors find that external social support from family and friends and in-prison social cohesion from peers, significantly mitigate the harms of bereavement on depressive symptoms. Publisher Abstract Provided
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