Health, mental health, substance use, and service utilization among rural and urban incarcerated women

Michele Staton-Tindall, Jamieson L Duvall, Carl Leukefeld, Carrie B Oser
Women's Health Issues: Official Publication of the Jacobs Institute of Women's Health 2007, 17 (4): 183-92
Incarcerated women commonly report health, mental health, and substance use problems, yet there is limited research on service utilization before incarceration, particularly among women from urban and rural areas. This study includes a stratified random sample of 100 rural and urban incarcerated women to profile the health, mental health, substance use, and service utilization; examine the relationship between the number of self-reported problems and service utilization; and examine self-reported health and mental health problems in prison as associated with preincarceration health-related problems and community service utilization. Study findings suggest that health and mental health problems and substance use do not differ significantly among rural and urban women prisoners. However, there are differences in service utilization -- particularly behavioral health services including mental health and substance abuse services; urban women report more service utilization. In addition, rural women who reported using needed community services before prison also reported fewer health problems in prison. Implications for correctional and community treatment opportunities in rural and urban areas are discussed.

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