Online Program

Resilience from trauma: Examination of a gender-responsive trauma-informed mind-body program among female inmates

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 11:30 a.m. - 11:50 a.m.

Elizabeth Jackson, MPH, Department of Global Health and Population, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA
Danielle Rousseau, PhD, LMHC, Metropolitan College, Boston University, Boston, MA
Sue Jones, yogaHOPE, Somerville, MA
Allison Rose, MHS, Independent Research Consultant, Rockville, MD
Background: A growing evidence-base supports the connection between trauma and disease. Research suggests that mindfulness practices, such as yoga and meditation, can lead to neurological and physiological changes that may counter the impact of trauma and promote health and well-being. Women in the U.S. prison system suffer a disproportionate burden of physical and emotional traumas, and may benefit from a gender-responsive, trauma-informed mind-body program. Purpose: This study examines the implementation and effectiveness of a gender-responsive, trauma-informed mind-body (TIMBo) program delivered to inmates at the MCI Framingham Women's Prison in Massachusetts. Based on a train-the-trainer model, TIMBo is an eight-module, accessible, research-based curriculum that includes mind-body practices and tools to support long-term trauma recovery. Methods: The TIMBo pilot study was conducted with 14 women over eight weeks. Research staff administered pre and post surveys and collected qualitative data through individual interviews and focus group discussions. Results: Women reported less stress and physical symptoms and were more likely to be aware of how emotions manifest in the body following completion of the program. There was a significant increase in the use of TIMBo tools following the program. Prior to participating, women used on average 2.7 tools; after completion women used 4 on average. All of the women shared tools learned with others including fellow inmates and half shared with their children. Conclusions: TIMBo is a promising program that supports the mitigation of traumatic symptomology among female inmates, and addresses the need for sustainable, quality and equitable service provision among under-served female populations.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Explain the program’s ability to give women simple, effective and accessible tools to utilize as active coping strategies for self-regulation that supports long-term trauma recovery. Discuss the program’s ability to help women in prisons (and elsewhere) to gain awareness of their bodies and their body sensations. Emotional traumatic memory becomes lodged in the body and is triggered in an endless feedback loop that becomes chronic and debilitating and may lead to disease and mental health problems. Describe the program’s ability to help women renegotiate their self-belief through awareness of their inner experience, and begin the process of transformation. Explain the neurological and physiological effects that trauma can have on women’s minds and bodies. Discuss how mindfulness practices work to reverse the potentially devastating effects of trauma on the mind and body.

Keyword(s): Women, Adult and Child Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the co-principal investigator for this study and have been involved with the program's research and evaluation from the program's origin. Among my scientific interests has been the development, implementation and evaluation of public health programs which deliver services to under-served populations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.