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Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 1680-5348Print version ISSN 1020-4989


PULIDO-CRIOLLO, Frank; RODRIGUEZ-LANDA, Juan Francisco  and  COLORADO-MARTINEZ, Martha P.. Sociodemographic factors associated with symptoms of depression in a sample of women held at two prisons in Mexico. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2009, vol.26, n.3, pp.209-215. ISSN 1680-5348.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the prevalence of depressive symptoms among a sample of women held in two Mexican prisons and to identify the sociodemographic factors associated with these symptoms. METHODS: An exploratory, descriptive study was conducted of women 18-50 years of age in two prisons in the state of Veracruz, Mexico: the Pacho Viejo (PV) facility and Fortaleza San Carlos (FSC) facility. The Hamilton scale for depressive illness was applied and relationships were found between the participants' scores and their sociodemographic traits (age, marital status, number of children, jail work assignment, and number/frequency of visitors), legal status, type of crime committed, and length of sentence. The analysis employed Student's T test, Chi-squared test, and Student-Newman-Keuls' post hoc test, depending on the variable. RESULTS: All of the women studied at both facilities presented with symptoms of depression. Women at the PV facility had a lower score for depressive symptoms than those at FSC (20.8 + 0.8 versus 25.2 + 0.9; P < 0.001). A higher score was found among women with children than among those without children (25.3 + 0.9 versus 21.8 + 1.3; P < 0.05); the group of women receiving weekly visits scored (15.0 + 1.3) significantly lower than the other groups (F[4.46] = 30.7; P < 0.0001). No significant differences were found to be related to marital status, work assignment, age, type of crime, or the length of sentence. CONCLUSIONS: Symptoms of depression were prevalent among the study sample, and were most powerfully related to having children and infrequent visits. Social adaptation programs should encourage continuous contact between women and their children, family, and friends.

Keywords : Women's health; prisons; depressive disorder; social support; Mexico.

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