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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(1), 114; doi:10.3390/ijerph13010114

Changes in Depression and Stress after Release from a Tobacco-Free Prison in the United States

1
Division of Infectious Diseases, The Miriam Hospital, 164 Summit Avenue, Providence, RI 02906, USA
2
Center for Primary Care and Prevention, Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island, 111 Brewster Street, Pawtucket, RI 02860, USA
3
Centers for Behavioral & Preventive Medicine, The Miriam Hospital, Coro West, Suite 309, 164 Summit Avenue, Providence, RI 02906, USA
4
Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences, Brown University School of Public Health, Box G-S121-4, Providence, RI 02912, USA
5
Department of Psychology, University of Rhode Island, Chafee Hall, 142 Flagg Road, Kingston, RI 02881, USA
6
Department of Psychology, Nichols College, 129 Center Road, Dudley, MA 01571, USA
7
Brown University School of Public Health, 121 South Main Street, Providence, RI 02912, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Deborah Shelton
Received: 4 November 2015 / Revised: 4 January 2016 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 12 January 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Correctional Health)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [265 KB, uploaded 12 January 2016]

Abstract

Prior research has found high levels of depression and stress among persons who are incarcerated in the United States (U.S.). However, little is known about changes in depression and stress levels among inmates post-incarceration. The aim of this study was to examine changes in levels of depression and stress during and after incarceration in a tobacco-free facility. Questionnaires that included valid and reliable measures of depression and stress were completed by 208 male and female inmates approximately eight weeks before and three weeks after release from a northeastern U.S. prison. Although most inmates improved after prison, 30.8% had a worsening in levels of depression between baseline and the three-week follow-up. In addition, 29.8% had a worsening in levels of stress after release than during incarceration. While it is not surprising that the majority of inmates reported lower levels of depression and stress post-incarceration, a sizable minority had an increase in symptoms, suggesting that environmental stressors may be worse in the community than in prison for some inmates. Further research is needed to address depression and stress levels during and after incarceration in order for inmates to have a healthier transition back into the community and to prevent repeat incarcerations. View Full-Text
Keywords: depression; stress; prisoners; post-release; United States depression; stress; prisoners; post-release; United States
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

van den Berg, J.J.; Roberts, M.B.; Bock, B.C.; Martin, R.A.; Stein, L.; Parker, D.R.; McGovern, A.R.; Shuford, S.H.; Clarke, J.G. Changes in Depression and Stress after Release from a Tobacco-Free Prison in the United States. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 114.

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