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2012 Master's Level Graduate Research Conference

Session I - Session II - Session III - Session IV

Impact of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy on Reducing Symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in Incarcerated Women

The United States of America incarceration rate is higher than any other thriving nation in the world (Federal Sentencing Reporter, 2007). Women are impacted by incarceration at a rate that is growing faster than men (American Prison Facts, 2011). Women entering penile systems come with unique life experiences and responsibilities such as the primary provider and care giver for their children (Thompson & Harm, 2000). Incarcerated women have experienced different forms of abuse, addiction and have a history of mental illness. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Substance Use Disorders (SUD) and traits of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) such as parasuicidal behaviors are prevalent among incarcerated women. Research has shown, incarcerated women with co-occurring disorders have a higher prevalence of parasuicidal and self-harming behaviors (Quinlan & Zlotnick, 2002). Symptoms of BPD such as impulsivity and substance abuse were associated with female specific criminal behavior (Nee & Farman, 2005). Women also experience difficulty transitioning out of prison with unique experiences including family restoration, finding employment, addiction and mental illness (Kane & DiBartolo, 2002). The US Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons (FBOP) reported well designed treatment programs that are tactfully implemented within a prison setting help reduce relapse, criminality, recidivism, misconduct, mental illness and behavioral disorders while increasing levels of education and employment upon return to the community (FBOP, 2010). Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) was designed as a treatment for parasuicidal women with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) and has been adapted for several other populations (Roe-Sepowitz, 2007). Self injury is connected to a wide range of negative intrapersonal and interpersonal consequences due to emotion dysregulation (Gatz, 2007). Nearly 50% of people in prison participated in self mutilating behavior (Roe-Sepowitz, 2007). Clinicians have begun to implement DBT with incarcerated individuals. DBT has been proven effective for women within a community treatment setting for substance abuse (Linehan, 1999 et al., Koerner & Dimeff, 2000). DBT has been used in a prison setting however its effectiveness with this population is still unclear due to limited investigational studies (Nee & Farman, 2005). Little research is available on the effectiveness of DBT on incarcerated women. Despite high rates of victimization and trauma within incarcerated women, there are few targeted treatments available. Even fewer have been studied and empirically supported.

Presenter: Tamekia Howard-Ransom (College at Brockport State University of New York) --
Topic: Counseling Education - Panel
Location: 120 Hartwell
Time: 9:30 am (Session I)