Society of African Journal Editors

African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies

Prior substance use, depression and gender as determinants of self-harm urges in prison inmates: A study of Uyo Prison

Authors: Mfon E. Ineme, Helen O. Osinowo

Journal: African Journal of Drug and Alcohol Studies

This study examined prior substance use, depression and gender as determinants of selfharm urges in prison inmates. It was a survey utilizing ex-post facto design. A total of 183 male and 29 female inmates from Uyo prison participated in the study. Their mean age was 34.4years. Multi-stage sampling method was used. The t-test results {t (210)=2.89, p<.01} showed that inmates who used psychoactive substances before imprisonment reported higher self-harm urges than those who did not use. Also, inmates with high depressive symptoms reported higher self-harm urges than those with low depressive symptoms {t (210)= 4.21, p<.01}. The interaction of prior substance use and depression was significant, Wilks Lambda = .72, F (1, 210) = 19.02, p = <.01, partial eta squared = .17. A post-hoc test was conducted using LSD to show multiple comparison effect. Furthermore, the t-test results {t (210)= 2.60, p<.01} showed that female inmates reported higher self-harm urges than their male counterparts. The findings of this study have implications on the involvement of psychologists and other mental experts in the management of the prison system. Keywords: Self-harm urges, prior substance use, depression, gender, prison inmates