Relative Contributions of Gender and Traumatic Life Experience to the Prediction of Mental Disorders in a Sample of Incarcerated Offenders

Authors


Tracy D. Gunter, M.D., Associate Professor, Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Division of Forensic Psychiatry, IU Health Neuroscience Center 355 W. 16th Street, Suite 2800, Indianapolis, IN 46202-7176, U.S.A. E-mail: tdgunter@iupui.edu

Abstract

The objective of this study was to quantify the relative contributions of gender and traumatic life experience to psychiatric disorders in a sample of 320 offenders entering a state prison. Women were more likely than men to report traumatic events and personal and family mental health treatment histories; and were more likely to meet criteria for posttraumatic stress, borderline personality, and eating disorders. People reporting traumatic life experiences were more likely than those not so reporting to have family mental histories and to meet criteria for mood, anxiety, psychotic, antisocial personality, and borderline personality disorders, as well as elevated suicide risk. With both gender and trauma included in the logistic regression models, only trauma was a significant predictor of mood, anxiety, psychotic, attention deficit hyperactivity, and antisocial personality disorders, as well as suicide risk. Trauma-informed programming, regardless of gender, is important for incarcerated offenders. To the extent that trauma is also criminogenic, these data suggest that women and men share the risk. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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