Doing your own time: Peer integration, aggression and mental health in Dutch male detainment facilities

Derek A. Kreager, Hanneke Palmen, Anja J.E. Dirkzwager, Paul Nieuwbeerta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Background: Prior research demonstrates a strong positive association between social integration (e.g., strong social ties) and individual health. However, researchers also emphasize that this correlation may vary by context and potentially reverse direction under certain conditions. In this study, we draw on competing criminological theories of peer relations to examine if social integration, measured by trust in peers, is positively or negatively associated with violence and mental health of men detained in pre-trial confinement facilities. Methods: We test our hypotheses with peer network and health data from 467 Dutch male pre-trial detainees. Results: Results suggest that peer trust has no direct association with reported rates of peer aggression while detained and low peer trust is generally protective for mental health. Conclusions: Our study adds to a small body of literature finding that social integration within certain correctional settings may not operate in the same way that it does in the general population and may actually contribute to adverse mental health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-99
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Science and Medicine
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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