Older inmates' pursuit of good health: a focus group study.

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21 Scopus citations


Many intersecting factors, including the graying of the broader society, a paradigm shift away from rehabilitation, fewer opportunities for parole, and retrospective prosecutions, contribute to an exponential increase in number of older inmates. Elderly prisoners are likely to live in small, tight quarters with other inmates; have chronic health conditions; and encounter multiple barriers to health promotion. Using focus groups, data on perceived challenges to health promotion and self-care strategies were collected from 42 male inmates 50 and older. Cost issues, prison personnel and policies, food concerns, fellow inmates, and personal barriers challenged older inmates' abilities to maintain their health in prison. However, they did engage in self-care strategies, including accessing resources and support, staying positive, managing diet and weight, engaging in physical activity, and protecting self. A key motivator for pursuing good health was to be respected and perceived as healthy and strong by fellow inmates. Development and testing of programs to enhance inmates' self-management of chronic conditions and to facilitate health promotion are in order.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)185-194
Number of pages10
JournalResearch in Gerontological Nursing
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Nursing(all)
  • Gerontology
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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