Physical health outcomes in prisoners with intellectual disability: a cross-sectional study

Dias, S., Ware, R. S., Kinner, S. A. and Lennox, N. G. (2013) Physical health outcomes in prisoners with intellectual disability: a cross-sectional study. Journal of Intellectual Disability Research, 57 12: 1191-1196. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2788.2012.01621.x

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Author Dias, S.
Ware, R. S.
Kinner, S. A.
Lennox, N. G.
Title Physical health outcomes in prisoners with intellectual disability: a cross-sectional study
Journal name Journal of Intellectual Disability Research   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0964-2633
Publication date 2013
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1365-2788.2012.01621.x
Open Access Status
Volume 57
Issue 12
Start page 1191
End page 1196
Total pages 6
Place of publication Chichester, West Sussex, United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Background: People with intellectual disability (ID) in the general population and people in prison experience unrecognised medical conditions and inadequate disease prevention. Among prisoners, those with an ID may be particularly disadvantaged. The aim of this study was to identify demographic, health and health-related characteristics of adult prisoners who screened positive for ID.

Methods: Cross-sectional data were collected via face-to-face administration of a structured questionnaire in seven prisons in Queensland, Australia, between 2008 and 2010. Participants were adult prisoners within 6 weeks of release from custody. We identified ID using a pragmatic screening tool. Prisoners who scored <85 on the Hayes Ability Screening Index and either (a) reported having attended a special school or (b) reported having been diagnosed with an ID were considered to have screened positive for ID. We compared the characteristics of participants who screened positive and negative for ID using univariable and multivariable logistic regression.

Results: Screening positive for ID was associated with younger age, identifying as Indigenous and lower educational achievement. Prisoners who screened positive for ID were more likely to have been diagnosed with medical conditions such as heart disease (odds ratio; 95% confidence interval = 2.1; 1.0–4.2) and hearing problems (2.2; 1.3–3.7), after adjustment for age, sex, education level and Indigenous status. Screen-positive prisoners were less likely to have received preventive care interventions such as testing for hepatitis A infection (0.4; 0.2–0.6), and immunisation for tuberculosis (0.4; 0.2–0.8). Prisoners with possible ID were more likely to be obese (1.7; 1.1–2.7).

Conclusions: Adult prisoners who screen positive for ID have worse health outcomes than their non-disabled peers. An improved understanding of physical health characteristics prior to release can direct treatment and support pathways out of the criminal justice system and inform transitional planning of health services for this profoundly disadvantaged group.
Keyword HASI
Intellectual disability
Physical health
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Article first published online: 29 October 2012. Published under Brief Report.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 1 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 20 Mar 2013, 10:13:38 EST by Dell Hele on behalf of Medicine - Mater Hospital