Mental, Physical Effects of Relationship With Inmate Might Explain Some Black, White Health Disparities, Study Finds
People with a relative or friend in prison or jail have worse physical and mental health than those who do not, and that could explain some health disparities between whites and blacks, according to a study published the journal Progress in Community Health Partnerships, United Press International reports. The study, led by Daniel Kruger of the University of Michigan School of Public Health, is based on a survey of 1,288 adults from Flint, Mich. Sixty-seven percent of the respondents were white and 26% were black.
Forty-nine percent of black respondents reported having had a friend or relative in jail or prison during the past five years, compared with 20% of whites. People with a friend or relative incarcerated reported 40% more days where poor physical health interfered with work and other daily activities. Such people also reported 54% more days where poor mental or emotional health interfered with such activities.
Researchers said the findings could partly explain some health disparities between blacks and whites. "African-Americans are more likely to know someone in prison and to feel closer to the person incarcerated than whites do. It's like a double whammy," Kruger said (United Press International, 4/23).