Psychiatric Quarterly

, Volume 83, Issue 4, pp 467–480 | Cite as

Effects of Personality Disorder and Impulsivity on Emotional Adaptations in Prison Among Women Offenders

  • Senik T. MahmoodEmail author
  • Stephen J. Tripodi
  • Michael G. Vaughn
  • Kimberly A. Bender
  • Rachel D. Schwartz
Original Paper


The present study sought to better understand the influence of personality disorders and impulsivity on women’s ability to adapt to incarceration. We analyzed the influence of personality disorders as screened with the Structured Clinical Interview for Personality Disorders, and impulsivity as assessed with the Barratt Impulsivity Scale on depression and anxiety, sleeping problems, and feeling afraid of being attacked in prison among a large sample of women incarcerated in a Virginia prison. Results from regression models indicated that schizotypal, borderline, avoidant and dependent personality disorders and cognitive impulsivity were significant predictors of symptoms of anxiety and depression net of demographic covariates. Women possessing a diagnosis of paranoid personality disorder were at increased odds of having difficulty sleeping in prison and borderline, dependent, and paranoid personality disorder were at increased odds of experiencing fear in prison. Women who had been in prison before were significantly less likely to experience these problems. Implications of study findings for policies and practices involving women offenders are discussed.


Women offender Emotional adaptation Impulsivity Depression/anxiety Borderline personality disorder 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Senik T. Mahmood
    • 1
    Email author
  • Stephen J. Tripodi
    • 5
  • Michael G. Vaughn
    • 2
  • Kimberly A. Bender
    • 4
  • Rachel D. Schwartz
    • 3
  1. 1.Public Policy StudiesSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.School of Social Work, Division of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, Department of Public Policy StudiesSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Instruction-Public HealthSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.University of DenverDenverUSA
  5. 5.College of Social WorkFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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