Examining the Association Between Mental Illness and Victimization Risk in Community and Prison Settings
Kozlowski, Meghan Michelle
Porter, Lauren C
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Research suggests that persons with mental illness are at risk for physical and sexual victimization both in the community and while incarcerated. However, there is less understanding of the risk factors that explain these relationships. Using data from the Survey of Inmates in State Correctional Facilities (2004), the current study tests the relationship between mental illness and victimization and explores possible risk factors that may contribute to victimization across groups and environments. Findings suggest that inmates with mental illness are more likely to be victimized than their counterparts without mental illness in community and prison settings. Results from stepwise regression models suggest that the mental health-victimization relationship is partially attributable to setting-specific risk factors such as homelessness or prison program involvement. Future research interested in better understanding the vulnerability of persons with mental illness should consider the salience of environmentally-specific risk factors in explaining victimization risk.