Traumatic Life Events, Social Support and Mental Health of Under Trial Women Prisoners

Saima Khan (MPhil, 2016-2018) Supervisor: Farah Malik, PhD

The present study aimed to investigate the relationship between traumatic life events, social support and two aspects of mental health: Psychological well-being and distress under trial women prisoners. It was hypothesized that there would be negative relationship among in traumatic life events, social support, psychological wellbeing and mental health. And social support would be positively related to psychological wellbeing and mental health while negatively with distress. It was also hypothesized that social support would a moderator between the relationship of traumatic life events and mental health. Correlational research design was used and data were collected from Kot Lakhpat Jail Lahore through purposive sampling from 57 under trial women prisoners with age range 18-53 years (M = 32.61, SD = 8.37). Urdu Versions of Trauma History Questionnaire (THQ; Green, 1996), Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS; Zimet, Delhem, Zimet & Farley, 1988) and Mental Health Inventory (MHI; Viet & Ware, 1983) were used for data collection. Pearson product moment correlation and moderation through hierarchical regression were used to see the relationship between traumatic life events, social support and mental health and moderation effect of social support between traumatic life events and mental health. Results revealed negative relationship between traumatic life events (physical, sexual, general disaster and crime related trauma) social support, psychological wellbeing and mental health. While positive relationship was shown between social support, psychological wellbeing and mental health. Traumatic life events have positive relation with psychological distress. Further moderation through hierarchical regression analysis revealed social support as moderator and have buffer effect between traumatic life events (physical and sexual trauma) and psychological wellbeing. Overall these study findings revealed the importance of social support’s buffer effect against the stressful life events and protect prisoner’s mental health from anxiety and depression (psychological distress).

Keywords: Traumatic life events, social support, mental health, prisoners.

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