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An Examination of the Associations Among Victimization, Mental Health, and Offending in Women

NCJ Number
Date Published
April 2017
19 pages
This study examined mental health as a mediator of the victimization and offending link in women.
Structured diagnostic interviews were administered to 491 women in urban and rural jails in four geographic regions of the United States to obtain detailed lifetime mental health, substance use, victimization, and conviction history. Structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to examine associations among adult and childhood experiences of interpersonal violence, lifetime mental health and substance use disorders, treatment use, and total number of convictions. Lifetime mental health and substance use disorders mediated the relationship between childhood victimization and adversity and number of convictions, as well as between adult victimization and number of convictions. In addition, greater treatment use was significantly associated with number of convictions. The findings provide support for including mental health and treatment use in models for addressing women’s offending and conducting comprehensive mental health assessments of women entering jail. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: April 1, 2017