Date of Award

7-25-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)

Committee Chair

Michelle Guyton, PhD

Second Advisor

Paul Michael, PhD

Third Advisor

Michel Hersen, PhD, ABPP

Abstract

The population of female inmates in the U.S. is growing rapidly, but this population remains understudied relative to male inmates. Many female inmates arrive at prison with significant trauma histories and symptoms, and women's prisons contain high rates of violence. This study examined whether trauma symptoms at intake would predict violence victimization and perpetration during the subsequent year for a sample of first-time female inmates. Four scales of the Trauma Symptom Inventory-2 (TSI-2; Briere, 2011) were examined as potential predictors, including Anxious Arousal, Anger, Intrusive Experiences, and Tension Reduction Behavior. Rates of trauma symptoms varied between moderate and high relative to the norming sample, which was composed of non-incarcerated women. Rates of institutional violence were substantial, but still lower than some of the higher estimates from existing literature. None of four TSI-2 scales were significantly predictive of violence victimization or perpetration during the first year of incarceration. The results of this study suggest that although rates of violence and trauma symptoms in prison constitute significant problems, the four types of trauma symptoms examined are not predictive of being the victim or perpetrator of violence.

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