Beliefs about mental health in incarcerated males: a qualitative interview study

Av: Line Elisabeth Solbakken, Svein Bergvik og Rolf Wynn
Publisert i: Frontiers in Psychiatry, 14.09.2023.


Beliefs about mental health are shaped by the sociocultural context. Prisons have unique environmental and social features, and the prevalence of mental health problems in incarcerated populations is exceptionally high. These features make prisons especially interesting settings for exploring health beliefs. The aim of this study was to explore the conceptualizations of mental health and coping preferences in a prison environment.


The main finding was a firm integration of the prison context in in the participants’ beliefs about mental health. We theorize that fusion of prison conditions and mental health beliefs were brought on by the processes of prisonization, observing mental distress in peers and attempts to protect selfesteem by externalizing the causes for mental health problems. Access to activities, social time, and “someone to talk to” were perceived to be crucial for improving and preserving mental health.

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