Female Prisoners in Spain: Adverse Childhood Experiences, Negative Emotional States, and Social Support

Francisco Caravaca-Sánchez, Noelle E. Fearn, Kristina R. Vidovic, Michael G. Vaughn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


A growing body of literature on correctional populations from the past two decades indicates that a significant proportion of prison inmates report experiencing adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) during childhood. Extant literature also suggests that women suffer disproportionate victimization at all life stages. The current study examines the prevalence and magnitude of the associations between ACEs, social support, and negative emotional states (that is, anxiety, depression, and stress) among a sample of incarcerated women-a small but growing correctional population. Data were obtained from a survey of women incarcerated in two prisons in Spain (N = 174); survey questions elicited information on these women's emotional, physical, and sexual victimization during childhood in addition to their self-reported levels of social support and mental health. A series of analyses indicated that female inmates who reported ACEs similarly reported lower levels of social support and higher levels of depression, anxiety, and stress as compared with nonvictimized women inmates. The findings reported here underscore the importance of attaining a fuller understanding of female inmates' histories of ACEs so that we can more accurately identify and, ideally, provide necessary services to those women at highest risk of mental health-related problems during incarceration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-166
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 9

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 National Association of Social Workers.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)


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