The Relationship Between Childhood Abuse and Psychosis for Women Prisoners: Assessing the Importance of Frequency and Type of Victimization


By bhadmin February 2, 2021

This study examines the relationship between childhood victimization and self-reported current symptoms of psychosis in an incarcerated female population in the United States. Participants are 159 randomly selected women incarcerated in two North Carolina state prisons. Participants completed a battery of self-report measures to assess childhood victimization and current and lifetime experience of audio/visual hallucinations and delusions. In accordance with the dose-response model, we hypothesized a predictive relationship between severity, frequency, and type of victimization and psychosis for this sample of women prisoners. Results indicate that women who experienced multi-victimization were 2.4 times more likely to report current symptoms of psychosis than other women prisoners who experienced only physical or sexual victimization in childhood. Likewise, a one-unit increase in frequency of childhood victimization was associated with a 3.2 % increased likelihood of having reported symptoms of current psychosis. These results provide support for the dose-response model hypothesis that multi-victimization is an important predictor of psychosis for the women prisoner population. Results indicate that adjusting prison-based mental health services to address the relationship of childhood victimization and symptoms of psychosis may be a key factor in improving outcomes among this population.

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