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Gambling and Perceived Health Among Adult Jail Inmates

Hickey, Kari PhD, RN1; Kerber, Cindy H. PhD, APRN, BC2; Kim, MyoungJin PhD2; Astroth, Kim S. PhD, RN2; Schlenker, Emily PsyD, RN, CHN2

doi: 10.1097/JFN.0000000000000019
Original Articles

ABSTRACT Gambling problems have been associated with lower perceived health in community samples, but little research has examined this relationship in an incarcerated population. The purpose of this study was to determine the perceived health and gambling problems of adult inmates (18–49 years old) in a county jail. We surveyed 184 male and female inmates aged 18–49 years. Nearly 35% of inmates scored as problem or pathological gamblers, and inmates scored significantly lower on all Short Form-36 Version 2 perceived health scales than the U.S. population norm. There were no significant differences on perceived health scores between recreational and problem/pathological gamblers. The high prevalence of gambling problems and poor perceived health necessitates research to provide screenings and test effectiveness of gambling and health interventions in this population.

Author Affiliations: 1School of Nursing and Health Studies, Northern Illinois University, and 2Mennonite College of Nursing, Illinois State University.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Kari Hickey, PhD, RN, School of Nursing and Health Studies, Northern Illinois University, 1240 Normal Road, DeKalb, IL 60115. E-mail:

Received September 5, 2013; accepted for publication December 23, 2014.

© 2014 by the International Association of Forensic Nurses. All rights reserved.
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