On SAGE Insight: Psychological Distress Among Older Prisoners

Article title: Psychological Distress Among Older Prisoners: Associations With Health, Health Care Utilization, and the Prison Environment

From Journal of Correctional Health Care

Physical and functional health issues among older prisoners may be difficult to address in an environment designed for younger inmates. This article investigates the relationships between older prisoners’ health, their experiences of the prison environment and health services, and their levels of psychological distress. Older prisoners are the fastest growing age group of inmates in various prison systems around the world, including in the United States, UK, Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, among others. A hierarchical regression analysis determined that physical difficulties in the prison environment and issues accessing prison health care explained a significant proportion of the variation in older prisoners’ distress scores. Failure to consider both individual and environmental factors oversimplifies issues relating to prisoner distress and may lead to an oversight of potentially useful intervention strategies.

Abstract

Physical and functional health issues among older prisoners may be difficult to address in an environment designed for younger inmates. This article investigates the relationships between older prisoners’ health, their experiences of the prison environment and health services, and their levels of psychological distress. One hundred and seventy-three older prisoners (aged 50 years and older) from eight Australian prisons were interviewed using the Kessler Psychological Distress Scale, with additional information collected from prisoner interviews and correctional health files. Distress scores were significantly associated with measures of physical health, functional independence, and health care utilization. However, a hierarchical regression analysis determined that physical difficulties in the prison environment and issues accessing prison health care explained a significant proportion of the variation in older prisoners’ distress scores.

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Article details
Psychological Distress Among Older Prisoners: Associations With Health, Health Care Utilization, and the Prison Environment
Susan Baidawi, BSW, BPharm, Christopher Trotter, PhD
First Published September 25, 2016
Journal of Correctional Health Care 2016, Vol. 22(4)
DOI: 10.1177/1078345816669964

 

 

     
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