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McNair Scholars Program

Lindsay Chassay

she/her

Education: Bachelor of Science in psychology (May 2020)

Currently pursuing a Master of Science in clinical-counseling psychology at Illinois State University

McNair Project: The Role of Social Support on Mental Health Outcomes of Prisoners (2019)

Mentor: Kristen Kremer, Ph.D., M.S.W.

This study sought to examine the mental health outcomes of prisoners and the role that social support has in improving/worsening their mental health outcomes. Data were used from the 2004 Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities collected by the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data. Approximately 3,700 inmates across 148 federal prisons were interviewed. The final analytic sample included 3,451 prisoners. Logistic and linear regression models predicted mental health diagnosis, if the prisoner considered suicide, and mental health evaluation scores for prisoners. Controlling for demographic covariates, odds of mental health diagnosis were lower among prisoners with children who had more frequent calls with their children. Similarly, mental health evaluation scores were higher among prisoners in the full sample who made and received more frequent calls. Prisoners with children who received more frequent visits from their children also had higher mental health evaluation scores. Future research should explore additional variables that impact prisoner’s mental health, such as overcrowding, length of sentence, and whether there are differences based on the type of individual providing support (e.g. spouse, children, parents, or other family members).