Understanding Childhood Victimization Experiences and Mental Health Outcomes in a Sample of Prison Inmates in Northern Chile
Previous research has demonstrated a relationship between childhood victimization and negative mental health outcomes among individuals deprived of liberty. However, these studies have generally focused on
physical abuse or sexual abuse and have been conducted in developed countries. Based on this background, the present study aimed to explore the associations between different forms of childhood victimization and psychological distress in a sample of individuals deprived of liberty in
northern Chile. Data from 229 participants in a high-security prison facility were used. Six modules of
victimization were included, such as conventional crimes, caregiver victimization, peer victimization, sexual
victimization, and indirect victimization. Correlation analyses and multiple hierarchical regression were conducted to measure the associations between the variables of interest and psychological distress.
Overall, different forms of victimization were associated with all evaluated symptomatology. In a more detailed analysis, it was found that gender, caregiver victimization, and sexual victimization had the greatest predictive weight on adult mental health problems among individuals deprived of liberty. From a social reintegration perspective,
these findings could provide the necessary theoretical basis for increased investment in mental health for the incarcerated population in Chile.
Considering that many of these individuals may have been exposed to experiences of victimization in their childhood, it becomes crucial to prioritize their mental well-being as part of their rehabilitation process. It is necessary to continue deepening the understanding of these
phenomena through studies considering the high prevalence of mental health problems among individuals in correctional systems.
Declaration of conflicts of interestno
Corresponding author firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead author country
Lead author job role
- Higher Education Researcher
Lead author institutionUniversida de Tarapacá
Ethics statementYes, Comité Ético Científico Universidad de Tarapacá
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