Prison experiences and psychological distress among older inmates

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This study investigates relationships between older prisoners’ social experiences and their levels of distress. One hundred and seventy-three older prisoners (aged ≥ 50 years) from 8 Australian prisons were administered the Kessler Psychological Distress (K10) Scale, with additional information collected via individual interviews. Psychological distress scores were significantly associated with measures of self-reported safety (p < .001), prison victimization (p < .05), perceived social support from staff (p < .01) and inmates (p < .001), current employment (p < .05), and level of exercise (p < .001) among older inmates. Findings suggest that strategies for improving sense of safety, social support and level of exercise may ameliorate distress among older prisoners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)252 - 270
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Gerontological Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • aging prisoners
  • older prisoners
  • prison programs
  • psychological distress
  • victimization

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