The Heterogeneity of the World Assumptions of Older Adults in Prison: Do Differing Worldviews Have a Mental Health Effect?

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to develop a set of profiles on incarcerated older adults, which map the association between world assumptions, trauma, and indicators of mental health, including stress, depression, anxiety, hostility, and paranoia. A sample of 667 incarcerated older adults in prison completed a self-administered survey that included the World Assumptions Scale, Brief Symptom Inventory, and an index of subjective trauma experiences. Latent class analysis was used to model the heterogeneity in the sample. The authors identified three distinct classes of world assumption profiles among the study participants: a highly resilient group, a group who liked themselves, but no one else, and a group with elevated mental health indicators. The findings have theoretical implications for understanding cognitive schemas and life-course traumatic experiences as well as suggestions for identifying incarcerated individuals most at risk of psychological problems.

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