Article

Does PTSD occur in sentenced prison populations? A systematic literature review

Psychology Services, New Horizons, Berkshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Slough, Berkshire, UK.
Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health (Impact Factor: 1.28). 07/2007; 17(3):152-62. DOI: 10.1002/cbm.653
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT A systematic review of the literature on mental disorder in prisoners, published in 2002, made no mention of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but indicators from other studies suggest that a history of serious and chronic trauma is common among offenders.
To conduct a systematic review of the literature with the specific questions: does any epidemiological study of sentenced prisoners include data on prevalence of PTSD while in prison? If so, what is the prevalence in this group?
Literature databases EMBASE, Medline, PsychInfo, PILOTS and SIGLE were searched. The Journal of Traumatic Stress was searched manually. Preliminary screening was conducted by reading abstracts of hundreds of papers. Ten exclusion criteria were then applied to the screened selection. Reference sections of all accessed papers were searched for any further studies.
One hundred and three potentially relevant papers were identified after preliminary screening. Four met all criteria for inclusion and suffered none of the exclusion criteria. PTSD rates ranged from 4% of the sample to 21%. Women were disproportionately affected.
All four papers suggested that the prevalence of PTSD among sentenced prisoners is higher than that in the general population, as reported elsewhere. Overall the findings suggest a likely need for PTSD treatment services for sentenced prisoners.

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    • "Although there is now plentiful evidence of high rates of psychopathology among prisoners (Fazel and Seewald, 2012), there is little information available on some specific disorders, PTSD among them. Goff et al. (2007), in their systematic review, found that of 103 studies identified pertaining to mental health, only four examined PTSD; its prevalence ranged between 4% and 21%, but they did not analyse social or ethnic subgroups. Our aim, therefore, was to test for any relationship between PTSD and incarceration in a nationally representative sample of Black Americans. "
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    • "In a systematic review and meta-analysis of 62 surveys of 23 000 prisoners, the prevalence of psychosis was around 4%, major depression 10–12%, and personality disorders 40–70% (Fazel, 2002). Post-traumatic stress disorder is also thought to affect up to a fifth of prisoners (Goff, 2007) and prisoners of both sexes report histories of severe trauma and abuse (Driessen, 2006). Women seem to have higher rates of most psychiatric disorders than do men (Binswanger, 2010). "
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