Social support among releasing men prisoners with lifetime trauma experiences


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

High rates of lifetime trauma experiences exist among men incarcerated in US state and federal prisons. Because lifetime trauma experiences have been linked to problematic behavioral and psychiatric outcomes for incarcerated populations, trauma-informed interventions could improve post-release well-being of releasing men prisoners with trauma histories. Social support has consistently been found to have a positive impact on trauma-related outcomes in non-incarcerated populations. Therefore, it is reasonable to hypothesize that social support may be an important intervention component for releasing men prisoners with trauma experiences; yet, the relationship between trauma experiences, psychiatric and behavioral factors, and social support has received almost no attention in research with men prisoners. Using a probability sample of 165 soon-to-be-released men, the present study examined differences in certain demographic, criminal justice history, mental health, substance abuse, and social support (type, quality, amount, and source) variables between releasing men prisoners with and without lifetime trauma experiences. Results indicate that men with trauma histories had more negative social support experiences and fewer positive social support resources before prison than their counterparts. Men with trauma histories also had more lifetime experiences with mental health and substance use problems. On further investigation of the subsample of men with trauma histories, those who were older, had substance use disorders, and histories of mental health problems anticipated fewer post-release social support resources. Study findings underscore the nuances of social support for men prisoners with trauma experiences and point to implications for future directions in targeted trauma-informed intervention development for releasing men prisoners.

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