Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Gerontology Institute

First Advisor

Ann Pearman - Chair

Second Advisor

Elisabeth O. Burgess

Third Advisor

Sarah L. Cook


While men retain the highest rates of incarcerations, the female prison population has tripled in the last decade (Covington, 2007; Henderson, 1998). The goal of this study was to examine micro-level forces, such as social support, substance use, and childhood trauma, in a sample of 188 recently incarcerated women, aged 18-58. Using an ANOVA with ages grouped 18-29, 30-39, and 40-58, age differences in substance use were identified, with the 30-39 year old group reporting more alcohol and drug use than the 18-29 year old group. There were no age differences on social support or childhood trauma. Multiple regression analyses revealed that older age and less social support predicted more alcohol use and older age alone predicted drug use. These results illustrate a need for deeper exploration of these micro forces across the life course of incarcerated women and the need for age-specific programs with at-risk populations to address different use patterns.


Included in

Sociology Commons