The collateral damage of mass incarceration: Risk of psychiatric morbidity among nonincarcerated residents of high-incarceration neighborhoods

Mark L. Hatzenbuehler, Katherine Keyes, Ava Hamilton, Monica Uddin, Sandro Galea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objectives: We examined whether residence in neighborhoods with high levels of incarceration is associated with psychiatric morbidity among nonincarcerated community members. Methods: We linked zip code-linked information on neighborhood prison admissions rates to individual-level data on mental health from the Detroit Neighborhood Health Study (2008-2012), a prospective probability sample of predominantly Black individuals. Results: Controlling for individual- and neighborhood-level risk factors, individuals living in neighborhoods with high prison admission rates were more likely to meet criteria for a current (odds ratio [OR] =2.9; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.7, 5.5) and lifetime (OR= 2.5; 95% CI = 1.4, 4.6) major depressive disorder across the 3 waves of follow-up as well as current (OR = 2.1; 95% CI = 1.0, 4.2) and lifetime (OR =2.3; 95% CI = 1.2, 4.5) generalized anxiety disorder than were individuals living in neighborhoods with low prison admission rates. These relationships between neighborhood-level incarceration and mental health were comparable for individuals with and without a personal history of incarceration. Conclusions: Incarceration may exert collateral damage on the mental health of individuals living in high-incarceration neighborhoods, suggesting that the public mental health impact of mass incarceration extends beyond those who are incarcerated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)138-143
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Volume105
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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