The Nexus of Trauma, Victimization, and Mental Health Disorders Among Incarcerated Adults in Spain

Francisco Caravaca Sánchez, Javier Navarro Zaragoza, Noelle E. Fearn, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Victimization and exposure to trauma, commonly linked to co-occurring mental health disorders, are prevalent among prison populations. The purpose of this study is to shed light on the prevalence of various kinds of victimization and trauma exposure at distinct life stages (childhood, adulthood and during prison) among incarcerated persons in Spain. The research team surveyed a random sample of 453 male and female inmates, serving time in two Spanish prisons, to gather information on experiences of physical and sexual victimization in both childhood and adulthood along with the presence or absence of in-prison treatment for a mental health disorder(s). More than 80% of participants reported experiencing some kind of traumatic/shocking life event – and this was significantly higher for those receiving in-prison mental health treatment than their non-treated counterparts (96.3 versus 83.3%, respectively). Logistic regression analyses revealed that inmates who were receiving in-prison treatment for a mental health disorder reported significantly higher rates of both physical and sexual victimization in prison, prior to prison, and during childhood. The results of this study strongly suggest the importance of comprehensive and accurate identification of inmates’ traumatic, victimization, and mental health histories that necessitate treatment during incarceration. We discuss the implications of our study for correctional practice, policy and future research in order to reduce victimization in the Spanish Prison System.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)733-746
Number of pages14
JournalPsychiatric Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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