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Stressful Segregation Housing and Psychosocial Vulnerability in Prison Suicide Ideators

Authors

  • Ronald L. Bonner PsyD

    Corresponding author
    1. clinical psychologist who has worked in jails and prisons for the last nineteen years.
      3 South Market Street, Selinsgrove, PA 17870; E-mail: rbonner@bop.gov
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  • The author wishes to thank William Lane, Supervisor of Education, and his staff for their generous time in facilitating this project. In addition, the author is very grateful to Ms. Lori Zychowski, doctoral student, and Dr. Don Robertson, Professor of Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, for completing the data analyses. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

3 South Market Street, Selinsgrove, PA 17870; E-mail: rbonner@bop.gov

Abstract

Psychosocially vulnerable prisoners under stressful conditions of confinement are ill prepared to cope and at risk for developing suicide intention. The present study examined the relationships of depression, hopelessness, reasons for living, mental health problem history, suicide attempt lethality history, and stressful segregation housing with suicide ideation in 134 prisoners. Prisoners housed in segregation were found to have significantly higher levels of depression and suicide ideation than prisoners in general population. A hierarchical regression model of suicide ideation found significant interactions between mental health problem history, suicide attempt lethality history, and hopelessness with anticipated segregation stress, independent of depressed mood. Results of the study are discussed in terms of the stress-vulnerability model, various methodological limitations, and future research.

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