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Reexamining Psychological Distress in the Current Conditions of Segregation

NCJ Number
Journal of Correctional Health Care Volume: 1 Dated: (Fall 1994) Pages: 39-53
H A Miller
Date Published
15 pages
This study explored psychological distress as measured by the three global indexes of the Brief Symptom Inventory and compared inmates in two levels of restrictive environments against the general population in a medium-security Federal correctional institution.
Thirty males in the Federal correctional institution in Ashland, Ky., participated in the study. The inmates were selected from each level of housing: general population, administrative detention, and disciplinary segregation. Three one-way analyses of variances were done on the global indexes and the three levels of restrictive environments. The study hypothesized that as the level of restriction increased, the level of individual psychological distress also would increase. The findings of this research supports past studies that found higher levels of distress and symptomology with higher levels of inmate restrictions; however, this is the first study to report such results with inmates currently assigned to these levels of restrictions. The results show that increased levels of restriction, specifically segregation, may increase detrimental psychological effects on inmates. Future research should not only assess whether different psychological distress levels make inmates more likely to be placed in segregation as a secondary result of their distress, but also to assess possible personality correlates of inmates who are segregated frequently. 1 table and 21 references


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