Views and Experiences of LGBTQ+ People in Prison Regarding Their Psychosocial Needs: A Systematic Review of the Qualitative Research Evidence

Gráinne Donohue*, Edward McCann, Michael Brown

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
265 Downloads (Pure)


People who identify as LGBTQ+ and are in prison often experience many additional challenges. Once in prison, there is systemic discrimination against imprisoned LGBTQ+ people and a lack of understanding and concern regarding their care, treatment and support needs. While there is growing interest in their protection and that of other vulnerable populations in prison settings, little is known about their views and experiences regarding their distinct psychosocial needs. The aim of this systematic review is to critically evaluate and synthesize the existing research evidence relating to the unique psychological and social experiences of LGBTQ+ people in prison and identify aspects that may help or hinder access to appropriate psychosocial interventions and supports. The PRISMA procedure was utilized. A search of relevant databases from January 2010 to March 2021 was undertaken. Studies were identified that involved LGBTQ+ people, and addressed their views and experiences regarding their psychosocial needs whilst in prison. The search yielded 858 papers in total. Following the application of rigorous inclusion and exclusion criteria a total of 12 papers were considered suitable for the systematic review. Quality was assessed using the CASP instrument. Following analysis, three themes were identified: (i) interpersonal factors (ii) intrapersonal factors and (iii) institutional factors. The policy, education and practice development implications are highlighted and discussed. Future research opportunities have been identified that will add significantly to the body of evidence that may further the development of appropriate health interventions and supports specific to the LGBTQ+ population in prison.
Original languageEnglish
Article number9335
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number17
Early online date03 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 03 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Experiences
  • Mental health
  • Prisons
  • Psychosocial
  • Qualitative evidence
  • Supports
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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