• Journal Article

Gender differences in distress: mental health consequences of environmental stress among jail inmates

Citation

Lindquist, C. (1997). Gender differences in distress: mental health consequences of environmental stress among jail inmates. Behavioral Sciences and the Law, 15(4), 503-523.

Abstract

The present study examines the influence of gender and environmental stress on the mental health of a sample of 198 male and female jail inmates. Environmental stress is conceptualized as the degree of congruence between inmates' demand and the jail's supply of several environmental features. A state of incongruence was hypothesized to increase the mental distress of jail inmates. In addition, it was hypothesized that female inmates would have higher levels of distress than male inmates, with environmental stress as a possible explanation for gender differences in distress. Female inmates were found to have significantly higher levels of mental distress than males. However, environmental stress was found to be equally detrimental to the mental health of both male and female inmates. Thus, although congruence between environmental demand and supply is a significant predictor of mental health, it is not an explanation for the alarmingly high levels of mental distress found among female inmates