Effects of personality disorder and impulsivity on emotional adaptations in prison among women offenders

Senik T. Mahmood, Stephen J. Tripodi, Michael G. Vaughn, Kimberly A. Bender, Rachel D. Schwartz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The present study sought to better understand the influence of personality disorders and impulsivity on women's ability to adapt to incarceration. We analyzed the influence of personality disorders as screened with the Structured Clinical Interview for Personality Disorders, and impulsivity as assessed with the Barratt Impulsivity Scale on depression and anxiety, sleeping problems, and feeling afraid of being attacked in prison among a large sample of women incarcerated in a Virginia prison. Results from regression models indicated that schizotypal, borderline, avoidant and dependent personality disorders and cognitive impulsivity were significant predictors of symptoms of anxiety and depression net of demographic covariates. Women possessing a diagnosis of paranoid personality disorder were at increased odds of having difficulty sleeping in prison and borderline, dependent, and paranoid personality disorder were at increased odds of experiencing fear in prison. Women who had been in prison before were significantly less likely to experience these problems. Implications of study findings for policies and practices involving women offenders are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-480
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Dec

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
treatment funded by the National Institute for Drug Abuse. Prof. Bender has worked in a variety of clinical settings with youth, including residential treatment, inpatient facilities, and outpatient mental health centers. Being passionate about educating future social workers practitioners, Prof. Bender was principal investigator of a qualitative study of the importance of self-awareness in training social work graduate students for culturally competent practice. At GSSW, she teaches the social work skills lab and program evaluation.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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