Article

Age, cumulative trauma and stressful life events, and post-traumatic stress symptoms among older adults in prison: do subjective impressions matter?

Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service, New York, NY 10023, USA.
The Gerontologist (Impact Factor: 2.48). 08/2011; 51(5):675-86. DOI: 10.1093/geront/gnr074
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The aging prison population in the United States presents a significant public health challenge with high rates of trauma and mental health issues that the correctional system alone is ill-prepared to address. The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship of age, objective, and subjective measures of trauma and stressful life events and post-traumatic stress symptoms among older adults in prison.
Data were gathered from 334 prisoners (aged 55+) housed in the New Jersey Department of Corrections, as of September 2010. An anonymous self-report, self-administered survey was mailed to the total population of 1,000 prisoners aged 55 years and older. Objective and subjective trauma was measured using the Life Stressors Checklist-Revised (LSC-R), and post-traumatic stress symptoms were measured using the Civilian Version of the Post-traumatic Stress Scale.
Results of a path analysis revealed that past year subjective impressions of traumatic and stressful life events had a positive and significant relationship to current post-traumatic stress symptoms. Age was found to have a significant and inverse relationship to subjective traumatic and stressful life events. That is, younger participants reported higher levels of cumulative traumatic and stressful life events and past year subjective ratings of being bothered by these past events.
These findings have significance for interdisciplinary/interprofessional practice and appropriate institutional and community care, including reentry planning of older adults in the criminal justice system.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
142 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Studies of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are mainly focused on victims of trauma. Very few studies explored the links between PTSD symptoms and re-offending risk in perpetrators of violence. The aim of the study was to assess the effect of PTSD symptoms on re-offending risk in prisoner populations with a focus on indirect effects of worry and a negative perception of other people's support on the relationship between PTSD and re-offending risk. 75 prisoners (25 females, mean age: 44.36 years; 50 males, mean age: 34.7 years) were assessed for exposure to child abuse and neglect, PTSD symptoms, worry, a negative perception of other people's support and re-offending risk. Mediation analyses tested the indirect effects of worry and a negative perception of other people's support on the relationship between PTSD and re-offending risk. 72% participants presented PTSD symptoms and 30.7% were at risk of re-offending. Mediation analyses supported the hypothesis of a mediation pathway from PTSD to worry and a negative perception of other people's support to an increased risk of re-offending. The results indicate that prisoners report high rates of PTSD symptoms; furthermore, they highlight an important relationship between PTSD and re-offending risk. Findings suggest that future research should test further the indirect effects of negative cognitive and emotional states on the relationship of PTSD and re-offending risk and explore more in depth the role of PTSD to assess and treat prisoners.
    European Journal of Psychotraumatology 12/2013; 4. DOI:10.3402/ejpt.v4i0.21382 · 2.40 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Purpose of Study: A theoretical integration of the life course perspective, cumulative advantage, disadvantage or inequality, and stress processing theories provide an important integrated lens to study the relationship between accumulated interpersonal, social-structural, and historical trauma and stressful experiences on mental well-being mental well-being in later life. This study builds upon the extant literature by examining the mediating role of coping resources on the relationship between trauma and stressful life experiences, post traumatic stress symptoms, and mental well-being among a sample of 677 adults aged 50 and older in prison. The majority (70%) reported experiencing one or more traumatic or stressful life experiences during their life span. Participants also reported on average 11 occurrences of multilevel trauma and stressful life events and lingering subjective distress related to these events. Results of a structural equation model revealed that internal and external coping resources (e.g., cognitive, emotional, physical, spiritual, and social) had a significant and inverse effect on the relationship between trauma and stressful life experiences and mental well-being. As prisons are forced to deal with an aging population, research in this area can take the preliminary steps to enhance understanding of risk and resilience among older adults in prison. This understanding will aid in the development and improvement of integrated theory-based interventions seeking to increase human rights, health, and well-being among older adults in prison.
    The Gerontologist 07/2013; 54(5). DOI:10.1093/geront/gnt069 · 2.48 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Environmental gerontologists from several disciplines focus on an overarching primary goal: to discover and apply information about person–environment transactions to produce more sanguine relationships between older adults and the environments they inhabit. As we move into the second decade of the 21st century, it is appropriate to conduct a roll-call of populations of older individuals who deserve but have not yet received adequate empirical attention. The purpose of this paper is two-fold. First, we contrast benefits derived from an environmental gerontology of the usual with those associated from conducting research on understudied populations and their environmental contexts. We also offer reasons that may explain why environmental gerontology has not placed the study of these older individuals and settings more prominently on the empirical radar screen. Second, we present two understudied subpopulations of elders living in voluntarily and involuntarily selected environments—older male and female prisoners and older residents of declining and dying small rural towns. We provide some examples of issues and research questions of potential relevance to environmental gerontologists who may be interested in entering each of these venues.
    Journal of Housing for the Elderly 01/2012; 26:251-274. DOI:10.1080/02763893.2012.673385

Full-text

Download
34 Downloads
Available from
Jun 4, 2014