Online Program

Social support and health issues among formerly incarcerated women in New York

Monday, November 4, 2013 : 11:10 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.

Yvonne Chang, MPH, Department of Sociomedical Science, Columbia University, New York, NY
Pamela Valera, PhD, ACSW, Department of Sociomedical Science, Columbia University, New York, NY
Introduction: Social support, or the psychological and material resources provided by one's social network, is an important protective factor for individuals with criminal justice histories. Women involved in the criminal justice system are a growing proportion of this population, and their incarceration has broad social impacts due to their unique roles in their families and communities. Care-giving expectations and limited community resources make it harder for women involved in the criminal justice system to navigate competing health-care needs and demands. Methods: We used grounded theory to examine how 30 formerly incarcerated women living in the Bronx, New York described their social networks, the aspects of social support provided by these networks, and health concerns. Results: Participants ranged in age from 21-57 (M = 44, SD = 7.75). Sixty-three percent were Black, 24% were Latina, 10% White, and 3% Other. All participants reinstated their Medicaid health insurance upon community reintegration. We found that involvement in new friendships with other women and strong ties to their adult children were likely to have a unique and positive impact on women involved in the criminal justice system. Conclusion: This study contributes to our understanding of social support and its impact on reentry experiences among women with a criminal justice background.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture

Learning Objectives:
Describe how social networks of formerly incarcerated women contribute to their health and well-being.

Keyword(s): Women, Access and Services

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This is part of my Masters Thesis project. I conducted the analysis and write up for this presentation.
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.