‘Traumatisers or traumatised’: Trauma experiences and personality characteristics of Australian prisoners

Anna Egeressy (School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia)
Tony Butler (National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University of Technology, WA, Australia & (formerly) New South Wales Justice Health, NSW, Australia)
Mick Hunter (School of Psychology, University of Newcastle, NSW, Australia)

International Journal of Prisoner Health

ISSN: 1744-9200

Publication date: 1 April 2009


Background: Post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is over represented in the prisoner population and is predictive of violence and suicide. This raises issues in relation to prisoner management, as well as theoretical issues such as why there is a range of vulnerability for PTSD. The current study examines the relationship between PTSD and personality profiles of prisoners. Method: Data from 1305 participants in the NSW survey of health in prisoners are examined to identify relationships between personality profiles derived from the Temperament and Character Inventory (TCI) and PTSD. Participants are grouped as experiencing no trauma; with a trauma history but no PTSD; and being diagnosed with PTSD. A logistic regression modelled significant predictors of PTSD. These data indicated that women prisoners report PTSD at twice the rate of males. An increased risk for PTSD is associated with high Harm Avoidance, low Self‐Directedness, high Persistence and high Self‐Transcendence. Conclusions: A combination of both temperament and character traits influences the trajectory towards PTSD development. Targeted treatment of these traits is needed in addressing the problems of prisoners with PTSD and managing the associated risks of violence and suicide.



Anna Egeressy, Tony Butler and Mick Hunter (2009) "‘Traumatisers or traumatised’: Trauma experiences and personality characteristics of Australian prisoners", International Journal of Prisoner Health, Vol. 5 No. 4, pp. 212-222

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: https://doi.org/10.1080/17449200903343209



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