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Death rates, psychiatric commitments, blood pressure, and perceived crowding as a function of institutional crowding

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The effects of crowding were examined in a prison system. Emphasis was directed toward three factors—social density (number of individuals in sleeping quarters), spatial density (space per person), and overall institutional population level. Archival data indicated that in prisons higher population years yielded higher death rates and higher rates of psychiatric commitments. Blood pressure measures were analyzed for inmates living in three types of housing that differed in degree of spatial and social density. Blood pressure was higher in more crowded housing. The degree of perceived crowding was more strongly related to space per person than number of occupants per housing unit.

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Correspondence to Paul B. Paulus.

Additional information

The assistance of Ben Judd and Robert Matthews in this research is appreciated.

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Paulus, P.B., McCain, G. & Cox, V.C. Death rates, psychiatric commitments, blood pressure, and perceived crowding as a function of institutional crowding. J Nonverbal Behav 3, 107–116 (1978).

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  • Blood Pressure
  • Death Rate
  • High Death Rate
  • Social Psychology
  • Population Level