Post traumatic stress disorder in incarcerated populations: current clinical considerations and recommendations

Publication Date20 January 2020
Date20 January 2020
AuthorClare S. Allely,Bob Allely
SubjectHealth & social care,Criminology & forensic psychology,Criminal psychology,Sociology,Sociology of crime & law,Deviant behaviour,Public policy & environmental management,Policing,Criminal justice
Post traumatic stress disorder in
incarcerated populations: current clinical
considerations and recommendations
Clare S. Allely and Bob Allely
Purpose Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have a detrimental impact on the individual’s ability to
benefit from rehabilitative prison-based programmes, and studies have also found that there is an association
between PTSD and higher rates of re-offending. Studies have also found that a significant number of cases of
trauma and PTSD go undetected and therefore untreated in individuals who are incarcerated.
Design/methodology/approach A literature review was carried out exploring studies that have
investigated PTSD in incarcerated populations to identify current clinical considerations and
Findings This paper explores the keyfindings from the literature and highlights the importantclinical
implicationsand recommendations.
Originality/value To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first paper focusing specifically on how the
findings from the literature can inform clinical practice and also what factors need to be given greater
consideration,going beyond the current systematicand literature reviews inthe field.
Keywords Post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, Prison, Prevalence, Incarcerated,Jail, Inmates, Prisoners,
Prison, Forensic setting
Paper type General review
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a heterogeneous syndrome characterised by
symptom clusters that are relatively disparate. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorder fifth edition (DSM-5; APA, 2013), PTSD consists of four symptom clusters,
namely, intrusion symptoms, avoidance, negative alterations in cognitions and mood and
alterations in arousal and reactivity. To fulfil the diagnostic criteria for PTSD, the individual
must be exhibiting features of all four clusters of symptoms for a minimum of one monthand,
crucially, the symptoms must cause the individual marked levels of distress or impairment
(APA, 2013). However, a large number of individuals who have experienced a trauma
develop sub-threshold PTSD rather than full clinical threshold PTSD (McLaughlin et al.,
2015). Even sub-threshold post-traumatic stress is clinically relevant, as studies have found
it to be related to significant and long-standing impairment (Marshall et al.,2001). There are
a variety of PTSD symptoms such as re-experiencing traumatic events, avoidanceof trauma-
related stimuli,sleep problems, feelings of irritability, angry outbursts and feeling emotionally
flat (APA, 2013). In a study carried out in the USA, the 12-month prevalence rate for PTSD in
the general population was estimated at 3.5per cent (Kessler et al., 2005b).
In the general population, the lifetime prevalence of PTSD ranges from 1 per cent to 14 per
cent (Astur et al., 2006;Kessler et al., 2005a,2005b). The prevalence rate of PTSD in a
Clare S. Allely is based at
School of Health Sciences,
The University of Salford,
UK. Bob Allely is based at
Clyde Bergemann, UK.
Received 2 October 2019
Revised 13 December 2019
Accepted 16 December 2019
Disclosure Statement: The
authors have no conflicts of
interest to declare.
Funding: This paper was
PAGE 30 jJOURNAL OF CRIMINAL PSYCHOLOGY jVOL. 10 NO. 1 2020, pp. 30-42, ©EmeraldPublishing Limited, ISSN 2009-3829 DOI 10.1108/JCP-09-2019-0044

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT