Barriers and opportunities to accessing social support in the transition from community to prison: a qualitative interview study with incarcerated individuals in Northern Norway

Av: Line Elisabeth Solbakken og Rolf Wynn
Publisert i: BMC Psychology 28. juli 2022


Background: Incarcerated individuals have poor mental health compared to the general population. Social support has a beneficial effect on mental health. The buffering model proposes that social support facilitates coping under stressful conditions, while the main effects model suggests that belonging to social networks and having positive
social interactions are beneficial for mental health. Prisons are a highly interesting context for studying social support, as imprisonment is perceived as stressful and disrupts social relationships and the availability of support. This study aims to explore incarcerated individuals’ perceptions of social support from various sources in the transition from community to prison, its perceived significance for mental health, and the opportunities and barriers to accessing social support in a Norwegian prison context.


Peers are perceived to be the most important source of social support, and vital for well-being and mental health in prison. Barriers to support from family, friends and prison officers may amplify the significance of support from peers