Psychological Distress: Identifying and treating distress among incarcerated offenders

Investigator: Jacinta Connor

Supervisors: Michael Daffern, Jason Skues

Rationale and aims:

  • Mental illness occurs at a disproportionately high rate in incarcerated offenders
  • The prison environment introduces stressors likely to elevate an inmate’s level of distress.
  • Mechanisms to identify and treat sub-clinical levels of distress that impact on a prisoner’s psychological wellbeing are limited.
  • This research aims to investigate the prevalence and correlates of psychological distress and evaluate the utility of brief interventions targeted at reducing psychological distress.


  • Approximately 1100 prisoners will be invited to complete an anonymous survey
  • Associations between variables measured will be analysed to determine the relationship between stress and wellbeing.
  • The data will be analysed to determine the most salient factors that contribute to the wellbeing.
  • Based on these results, efficacy of a brief psycho-educational intervention designed to reduce psychological distress levels in prisoners will be measured