Nonstranger Victimization and Inmate Maladjustment: Is the Relationship Gendered?

Calli M. Cain, Benjamin Steiner, Emily M. Wright, Benjamin Meade

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Scholars have hypothesized that victimization elicits distinctive effects on women’s pathways to prison and subsequent prison maladjustment, but few researchers have investigated gender differences in this relationship. Using nationally representative samples of men and women housed in state prisons, we examine gender differences in the effects of experiencing different types of nonstranger victimization prior to prison on inmate maladjustment. Results indicate that pre-prison nonstranger victimization affects men’s and women’s maladjustment similarly, with some gender differences—specifically, the effect of being physically assaulted by a nonstranger as an adult on violent misconduct was stronger among men, as was the effect of child abuse on men’s depressive symptoms. Our findings suggest the effects of experiencing nonstranger victimization prior to incarceration on prison maladjustment may be gender-neutral more so than gender-specific. Based on our findings, nonstranger victimization should be deemed important in theories of men’s maladjustment as well as in theories of women’s maladjustment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)992-1017
Number of pages26
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • gender differences
  • inmate maladjustment
  • inmate misconduct
  • mental health problems
  • victimization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • General Psychology
  • Law


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