Prevalence and characteristics of mental and physical disorders among female prisoners: a mixed-methods systematic review

Int J Prison Health. 2023 May 10. doi: 10.1108/IJPH-12-2022-0080. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

Purpose: This study aims to provide an overview and quality appraisal of the current scientific evidence concerning the prevalence and characteristics of mental and physical disorders among sentenced female prisoners.

Design/methodology/approach: A mixed-methods systematic literature review.

Findings: A total of 4 reviews and 39 single studies met the inclusion criteria for the review. Mental disorders were the main area of investigation in the majority of single studies, with substance abuse, particularly drug abuse, as the most consistently gender biased disorder, with higher prevalence among women than men in prison. The review identified a lack of updated systematic evidence on the presence of multi-morbidity.

Originality/value: This study provides an up-to-date overview and quality appraisal of the current scientific evidence concerning the prevalence and characteristics of mental and physical disorders among female prisoners.

Keywords: Childhood abuse; Criminal justice system; Forensic psychiatry; Health in prison; Offender health; Prison psychiatry.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Correctional Facilities
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Disorders* / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prisoners*
  • Prisons
  • Substance-Related Disorders* / epidemiology