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Brief Reports   |    
Behavioral Health and Social Correlates of Reincarceration Among Hispanic, Native American, and White Rural Women
Cathleen Elizabeth Willging, Ph.D.; Lorraine Halinka Malcoe, Ph.D., M.P.H.; Shilo St. Cyr, M.P.H.; William H. Zywiak, Ph.D.; Sandra C. Lapham, M.D., M.P.H.
Psychiatric Services 2013; doi: 10.1176/appi.ps.201200120
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Dr. Willging and Dr. Lapham are affiliated with the Behavioral Health Research Center of the Southwest, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, 612 Encino Pl., N.E., Albuquerque, NM 87102 (e-mail: cwillging@pire.org). Dr. Malcoe is with the Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health, University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Ms. St. Cyr is with the Faculty of Health Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada. Dr. Zywiak is with the Decision Sciences Institute, Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Providence, Rhode Island.

Copyright © 2013 by the American Psychiatric Association


Objective  To identify community reentry needs, this study examined mental illness, substance dependence, and other correlates of reincarceration in an ethnically diverse, rural population of women prisoners.

Methods  A purposive, cross-sectional sample of 98 women in a New Mexico state prison completed structured interviews. Analyses examined associations of substance dependence, mental illness, lifetime trauma, and sociodemographic variables with previous incarceration.

Results  Eighty-five percent screened positive for substance dependence, 50% for current mental disorders, and 46% for both. Exposure to trauma was pervasive (100%), especially physical or sexual trauma (83%). In adjusted analyses, previous incarceration was associated with precarious housing before imprisonment (odds ratio [OR]=2.19, p=.038) and with having co-occurring mental illness and substance dependence (OR=2.68, p=.019).

Conclusions  Findings support those of similar studies in urban areas and with other ethnic groups. Wraparound programs focusing on harm reduction, housing, and treatment and support services are needed for successful reentry of these underserved women.

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Table 1Characteristics of rural women prisoners in New Mexico, by previous incarceration status
Table Footer Note

a For chi square test or Fisher’s exact test for cell sizes with N<5

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b For three-variable logistic regression model. All variables with p<.10 in the bivariate analyses were included in the logistic regression model.

Table Footer Note

c Self-identified. Among women who self-identified or were categorized as Native American or a member of a specific tribe, four also identified as Hispanic, four also identified as white or Anglo, and one also identified as African American.

Table Footer Note

d Assessment of substance dependence was based on reported experiences before incarceration.



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