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Social Support, Victimization, and Stress in a Women’s Prison: The Role of in-Prison Friendship for Reducing Perceptions of Stress

NCJ Number
Women & Criminal Justice Volume: Online Dated: 2023 Pages: 1-18
Date Published

The research presented in this article analyzes the experiences of incarcerated women and investigates the relationship between prison victimization, friendship networks, and stress, with specific attention to whether the number of social ties to other women in prison moderates the heightened stress associated with in-prison victimization.


Drawing on social integration and support literature, this study evaluates whether having in-prison friendships reduces incarcerated women’s perceptions of stress and buffers the additional stress associated with violent prison victimization. Using network and survey data from a sample of 104 incarcerated women in a Pennsylvanian prison unit, results indicate that experiencing violent victimization in prison substantially increases incarcerated women’s perceptions of stress while having greater in-prison friendship ties is associated with lower perceptions of prison stress. In addition, larger in-prison friendship networks substantially reduce the stress associated with women’s in-prison victimization, making friendships a vital resource for victimized women. Publisher Abstract Provided

Date Published: January 1, 2023