A review of psychological interventions in prison populations and exploring Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) as predictors of negative outcomes in 18–25-year-olds

  • Donna Redmond

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctorate in Clinical Psychology


Two studies were completed. The first was a systematic review and meta-analysis to synthesise available quantitative literature on the effectiveness of psychological interventions for targeting co-occurring PTSD and SUD in prison populations. Four databases (Medline, Scopus, Psych INFO and Web of Science) identified N=530 papers and N=11 were accepted for review. Results highlighted important barriers to consider when undertaking research with prison populations. Considering these barriers, results tentatively suggest that psychological intervention may be useful for reducing PTSD and some aspects of SUD in prison populations. The results and implications are discussed in the context of important limitations.

The second study focused on a secondary data analysis of the Northern Ireland Childhood Adversity Study (NICAS), applying the Dimensional Model of Adversity and Psychopathology (DMAP) approach to Adverse Childhood Experiences. Firstly, it was explored whether Childhood Maltreatment, Household Dysfunction and Community Adversity predicted levels of Schizotypy, and, secondly whether these baseline relationships were mediated by Spatial Working memory as a measure of executive function. Hierarchal multiple regression models controlling for demographic variables SES and SEX suggested that the dimension Childhood Maltreatment predicted Schizotypy, and its sub-levels, within our sample (n= 155) of 18–25-year-olds. Our hypothesized mediator, Spatial Working Memory, as a marker of executive function was not related to our adversity dimensions or Schizotypy variables within our sample. Implications and limitations discussed herein.

Thesis embargoed until 31 July 2024.
Date of AwardJul 2022
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SponsorsBusiness Services Organisation
SupervisorDonncha Hanna (Supervisor), Teresa Rushe (Supervisor) & Paul Toner (Supervisor)


  • PTSD
  • substance use
  • prisoners
  • adverse childhood experiences
  • schizophrenia
  • schizotypy
  • trauma
  • abuse

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