Examining the role of familial support during prison and after release on post-incarceration mental health

Danielle Wallace, Chantal Fahmy, Lindsy Cotton, Charis Jimmons, Rachel McKay, Sidney Stoffer, Sarah Syed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


A significant number of prisoners experience mental health problems, and adequate social support is one way that facilitates better mental health. Yet, by being incarcerated, social support, particularly family support, is likely to be strained or even negative. In this study, we examine whether familial support - either positive or negative - in-prison and after release affects mental health outcomes post-release. Using the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative (SVORI) dataset, we regress post-release mental health on in-prison familial support, post-incarceration familial support, and changes in familial support. We find that while in-prison family support does not affect mental health, post-release familial support does. Also, experiencing an increase in negative familial support is associated with lower post-incarceration mental health. We conclude with a discussion of policies which may facilitate better familial support environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • familial support
  • incarceration
  • mental health
  • release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


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