Evidence suggests the burden of treatable mental disorders on the correctional population is substantial. However, it remains unclear whether a non-substance related mental disorder diagnosis (NSMD) is independently associated with different levels of recidivism risk. This study estimated NSMD diagnostic rates for the BC Provincial correctional population and examined the association between NSMD diagnoses and recidivism by conducting a time to event analysis. Overall, 47% of Provincial offenders received a NSMD diagnosis. The risk of recidivism was greater among those diagnosed with personality disorder and lower for those diagnosed with depressive disorder. Findings signify an essential component needed to improve offender health includes greater provision of correctional mental health services and research suggesting an indirect relationship exists between most mental disorder categories and recidivism is supported. Additionally, intervention strategies that target underlying mediating factors may be more effective at reducing recidivism than the exclusive treatment of psychiatric symptoms.
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Thesis advisor: Somers, Julian
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