Relationship Influence and Health Risk Behavior Among Re-Entering Women Offenders

University of Kentucky College of Social Work, Tower, Lexington, Kentucky 40506, USA.
Women s Health Issues (Impact Factor: 2.33). 02/2011; 21(3):230-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.whi.2010.10.006
Source: PubMed


Studies have shown that relationships can influence health risk behaviors such as drug use among women offenders. This study takes an exploratory look at the positive and negative influences of parents, peers, and partners for women prisoners to better understand their health risk behavior for HIV, including risky sex and drug use.
The current study includes secondary analysis of cross-sectional data from women offenders enrolled in three protocols of the National Institute on Drug Abuse-funded Criminal Justice Drug Abuse Treatment Studies cooperative agreement. Baseline interviews were completed with incarcerated women preparing for community re-entry and focused on behaviors during the 6 months before incarceration. Relationship influences during the 6 months before prison were categorized as "positive" or "negative" for the women offenders.
Multivariate regression models suggested that positive parental influence was significantly associated with reduced HIV risk and reduced drug use in the 6 months before incarceration. However, negative peer influence increased drug use including both risky needle behavior and any drug use in the 6 months before incarceration.
These data suggest that, although relationships are generally important to women, particular types of relationship influences may be related to risky behavior. Implications for targeting re-entry interventions for women offenders are discussed.

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    • "They experience the stigma of incarceration, confinement-related problems, anxiety about their children, physical and emotional symptoms that accompany withdrawal from alcohol and street drugs, insensitivities and even abuse of power by both staff and other inmates, and have difficulty in expressing their feelings about all this (Greer, 2000). It is hard to know how to interpret the sexual relationships that may emerge in this context, as they may be simply a recapitulation of the abusive relationships of the past or they may be a way of seeking comfort the only way the women know how (Nacci and Kane, 1983;Staton-Tindall et al., 2011), but for sure, they are likely to need professional attention. They open the possibility of infection and jealousy, and the climate of any locked institution is such thatDrug use among women inmates 123 ordinary concepts of fully consensual relationships can rarely, if ever, apply. "
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