Health, Mental Health, Substance use, and Service Utilization among Rural and Urban Incarcerated Women

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49 Scopus citations


Incarcerated women commonly report health, mental health, and substance use problems, yet there is limited research on service utilization before incarceration, particularly among women from urban and rural areas. This study includes a stratified random sample of 100 rural and urban incarcerated women to profile the health, mental health, substance use, and service utilization; examine the relationship between the number of self-reported problems and service utilization; and examine self-reported health and mental health problems in prison as associated with preincarceration health-related problems and community service utilization. Study findings suggest that health and mental health problems and substance use do not differ significantly among rural and urban women prisoners. However, there are differences in service utilization-particularly behavioral health services including mental health and substance abuse services; urban women report more service utilization. In addition, rural women who reported using needed community services before prison also reported fewer health problems in prison. Implications for correctional and community treatment opportunities in rural and urban areas are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-192
Number of pages10
JournalWomen's Health Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to acknowledge the support of the Kentucky Department of Corrections and the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women for their collaboration on the study. Jamieson L. Duvall, PhD, is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the University of Kentucky Department of Behavioral Science with an appointment in the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. His primary research interests include rural substance use, alcohol misuse, and decision making. Carl G. Leukefeld, PhD, is Professor of Behavioral Science, Psychiatry, Oral Health Science and Social Work; and Chair of the Department of Behavioral Science and Director of the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research, with a graduate appointment in Sociology. His research interests include treatment interventions, outcomes, HIV prevention, criminal justice sanctions, health services, and rural populations. Carrie B. Oser, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Kentucky and a faculty associate of the Center on Drug and Alcohol Research. Her reserach interests include substance abuse treatment, women, and infectious diseases.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Maternity and Midwifery


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