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Compr Psychiatry. 2018 Apr;82:100-107. doi: 10.1016/j.comppsych.2017.12.006. Epub 2018 Jan 2.

Evaluation of childhood trauma with respect to criminal behavior, dissociative experiences, adverse family experiences and psychiatric backgrounds among prison inmates.

Author information

1
Department of Psychiatry, Erenkoy Mental and Neurological Diseases Training and Research Hospital, Istanbul, Turkey. Electronic address: merihaltintas@yahoo.com.
2
Department of Psychology, Istanbul Gelisim University, Istanbul, Turkey.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To evaluate childhood trauma in relation to criminal behavior, dissociative experiences, adverse family experiences during childhood and psychiatric backgrounds among prison inmates.

METHODS:

In total, 200 prison inmates were included in this questionnaire-based study. Data on demographic characteristics, adverse family experiences during childhood and psychiatric backgrounds were collected via face-to-face interviews, and a psychometric evaluation was conducted using the Childhood Trauma Questionnaire (CTQ-28) and Dissociative Experiences Scale (DES).

RESULTS:

Several historical items were more common in females than in males including family history of psychiatric disease (23.0% vs. 13.0%, p = 0.048), a personal history of psychiatric disease (51.0% vs. 29.0%, p < 0.001), and previous suicide attempts (49.0% vs. 25.0%, p < 0.001). In male inmates, in contrast, there were higher rates of substance abuse (48.0% vs. 29.0%, p < 0.001) and previous convictions (50.0% vs. 25.0%, p < 0.001). Males had a younger age at first crime (24.9 ± 8.9 years vs. 30.3 ± 9.2 years, p < 0.001), whereas females had higher rates of violent crimes (69.2% vs. 30.8% p < 0.001) and higher CTQ total scores (51.9 ± 20.9 vs. 46.2 ± 18.9, p = 0.04). A significant relationship of CTQ total score was noted with age at first offense (β = 0.772, p < 0.001) but not with sentence length (β = 0.075, p = 0.292). There were also possible mediating roles of psychiatric problems, adverse family experiences and DES in the relationship between CTQ and age at first offense.

CONCLUSION:

In conclusion, our findings revealed a high prevalence of and significant associations among childhood trauma, dissociative experiences, adverse family experiences and psychiatric problems in a cohort of incarcerated females and males. A psychiatric background, childhood trauma characterized by sexual abuse and violent crimes were found to be predominant in female prison inmates, whereas a criminal background with a younger age at first offense and frequent previous convictions, substance use and sexual crimes were more prevalent among male prison inmates. Our findings indicate a potential link between childhood traumatization and criminal behavior in terms of subsequent offending but not in terms of severity of the subsequent offense.

PMID:
29455144
DOI:
10.1016/j.comppsych.2017.12.006
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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