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Co-Morbidity of Conditions Among Prisoners

NCJ Number
Journal of Offender Rehabilitation Volume: 48 Issue: 4 Dated: May-June 2009 Pages: 350-365
Alison J. Shinkfield; J. Graffam; Sharn Meneilly
Date Published
May 2009
16 pages
This study examined co-morbidity of conditions of ill-health and substance use with depression and anxiety among Australian prisoners.
Findings confirm that anxiety disorders are relatively common in the prisoner population with prevalence rates above that reported for an Australian community sample of adults. Results indicated high prevalence rates of physical and mental ill-health conditions among prisoners, in addition to high rates of substance use prior to prison entry. In addition, although average current depression and anxiety experienced by prisoners was within the normal rate, the proportion of participants who experienced levels of depression and anxiety above the normal range was much greater than other research has found among the general population. Findings may suggest that the pre-release period is potentially a time of heightened depression and anxiety for some prisoners. In order to clarify any effects that impending release may have on emotional state, it would be useful in future work to measure depression and anxiety at different points in the prison sentence and following release. To study prevalence of co-morbid conditions and the relation of depression and anxiety to ill-health and prior substance use, data were collected from 87 male and female prisoners who completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), and a questionnaire on current health. Tables, figure, and references