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ERIC Number: EJ817690
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Oct
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0016-9013
Religiousness/Spirituality and Mental Health among Older Male Inmates
Allen, Rebecca S.; Phillips, Laura Lee; Roff, Lucinda Lee; Cavanaugh, Ronald; Day, Laura
Gerontologist, v48 n5 p692-697 Oct 2008
Purpose: With the rapid growth in the older inmate population, emerging issues regarding physical and mental health require greater research and clinical attention. We examined the relation of religiousness/spirituality; demographic characteristics such as age, race, and type of crime; and physical and mental health among 73 older male inmates in the state of Alabama. Design and Methods: Inmates older than age 50 who passed a cognitive screening completed face-to-face interviews lasting between 30 and 60 min. Due to the low literacy rates of the participants, we administered all measures orally with response cards to facilitate understanding. Results: Nearly 70% of the inmates were incarcerated for murder or sexual crimes. There were no racial/ethnic differences in reported religiousness/spirituality, demographic characteristics, or mental health. We found an association between self-reported years of incarceration and experienced forgiveness. Three regression models examined whether inmates' self-reported religiousness/spirituality influenced anxiety, depression, and desire for hastened death. We found that having a greater number of daily spiritual experiences and not feeling abandoned by God were associated with better emotional health. Implications: Future studies, perhaps using longitudinal or case-control methodology, should examine whether increased daily spiritual experiences and decreased feelings of abandonment by God foster better mental health among older inmates.
Gerontological Society of America. 1030 15th Street NW Suite 250, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-842-1275; Fax: 202-842-1150; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama