Social Functioning, Victimization, and Mental Health Among Female Offenders

Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 39, Issue 9 (September 2012), pp. 1204-1218

Posted: 23 Jul 2020

See all articles by Natalie Anumba

Natalie Anumba

affiliation not provided to SSRN

David DeMatteo

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law

Kirk Heilbrun

Drexel University

Date Written: September 1, 2012

Abstract

Females who have experienced victimization or abuse during childhood tend to have poorer outcomes in adulthood with regard to criminal behavior, mental health, and social relationships. Although scholars have hypothesized that female offenders may benefit from programming that emphasizes empowerment and healthy relationships, empirical examination of this idea remains limited. Using a sample of 300 female offenders, this study empirically explored whether a history of victimization is a risk factor for future mental health problems and criminal behavior, and whether positive social functioning serves as a protective factor for females with histories of victimization. The results indicated that victimization history in this sample may not be associated with recidivism risk but with vulnerability to stress and mental health problems. In addition, the presence of social resources such as education and noncriminal friends appeared to act as a buffer against stress experienced as a result of life events.

Keywords: female offenders, criminogenic needs, gender-responsive treatment, relational theory of crime, victimization,

Suggested Citation

Anumba, Natalie and DeMatteo, David and Heilbrun, Kirk, Social Functioning, Victimization, and Mental Health Among Female Offenders (September 1, 2012). Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 39, Issue 9 (September 2012), pp. 1204-1218, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3599282

Natalie Anumba

affiliation not provided to SSRN

David DeMatteo (Contact Author)

Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law ( email )

3320 Market Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Kirk Heilbrun

Drexel University ( email )

3141 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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