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Forensic Sci Int. 1995 May 22;73(2):85-91.

Psychiatric morbidity among Finnish prisoners with special reference to socio-demographic factors: results of the Health Survey of Finnish Prisoners (Wattu Project).

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Mental Hospital for Prisoners, Turku, Finland.


The present study is part of the Health Survey of Finnish Prisoners (Wattu Project). The project dealt with a sample of 1099 Finnish prisoners, of which 82% participated in the study. Because of the representativeness of the sample the results can be generalized to all Finnish prisoners. The methods used consisted of questionnaires, interviews, a clinical examination by prison physicians and gathering of register data. The total prevalence rate of psychiatric cases was 56%. This is much higher than the rate for the Finnish population in general. The high number of mental disorders was due to alcoholism (43%) and personality disorders (18%). These disorders became even more prevalent as the number of prison sentences increased. There was no difference between the prisoners and the general population in the prevalence of psychoses and neuroses. Alcoholism is the most important mental disorder in Finnish prisoners, while drug abuse is rarely found among them in comparison to prisoners in many other countries.

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