Prison could be considered a prolonged stressful situation that can trigger not only a dysregulation of sleep patterns but can also bring out psychiatric illness, such as anxiety and depression symptoms. Our study is aimed at exploring sleep quality and sleep habits in an Italian prison ward with three different security levels, and to attempt to clarify how anxiety state and the total time spent in prison can moderate insomnia complaints. There were 129 participants divided into three groups who enrolled in this study: 50 were in the medium-security prison ward (Group 1), 58 were in the high-security prison ward (Group 2) and 21 were in the medium-security following a protocol of detention with reduced custodial measures (Group 3). All participants filled in a set of questionnaires that included the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-2), the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (STAI), the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), and the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI). Based on their responses, we observed that all participants showed poor sleep quality and insomnia, mild to moderate depressive symptoms that tended to a higher severity in Groups 1 and 3, and the presence of clinically significant anxiety symptoms, mainly in Groups 1 and 3. Our study shows that increased anxiety state-level and the presence of mood alteration corresponds to an increase in both poor sleep quality and, more specifically, insomnia complaints. Finally, we propose that TiP (total time in prison) could have an interesting and stabilizing paradox-function on anxiety state and insomnia.
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