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  • 1.
    Kerekes, Nora
    et al.
    University West, Department of Health Sciences, Section for health promotion and care sciences.
    Brändström, Sven
    Washington University School of Medicine, Clinical Associate of the Center for Well-Being, St. Louis, MO, United States.
    Nilsson, Thomas
    University of Gothenburg, Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health (CELAM), Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Gothenburg, Sweden.
    Imprisoning Yoga: Yoga Practice May Increase the Character Maturity of Male Prison Inmates.2019In: Frontiers in Psychiatry, ISSN 1664-0640, E-ISSN 1664-0640, Vol. 10, article id 406Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: A specific personality profile, characterized by low character maturity (low scores on the self-directedness and cooperativeness character dimensions) and high scores on the novelty seeking temperament dimension of the temperament and character inventory (TCI), has been associated with aggressive antisocial behavior in male prison inmates. It has also been shown that yoga practiced in Swedish correctional facilities has positive effects on the inmates' well-being and on risk factors associated with criminal recidivism (e.g., antisocial behavior). In this study, we aimed to investigate whether the positive effect of yoga practice on inmates' behaviors could be extended to include eventual changes in their personality profile. Methods: Male prison inmates (N = 111) in Sweden participated in a randomized controlled 10-week long yoga intervention trial. Participants were randomly assigned to either a yoga group (one class a week; n = 57) or a control group (free of choice weekly physical activity; n = 54). All the inmates completed the TCI questionnaire before and after the intervention period as part of an assessment battery. Results: After the 10-week-long intervention period male inmates scored significantly lower on the novelty seeking and the harm avoidance and significantly higher on the self-directedness dimensions of the TCI. There was a significant medium strong interaction effect between time and group belonging for the self-directedness dimension of character favoring the yoga group. Conclusion: A 10-week-long yoga practice intervention among male inmates in Swedish correctional facilities increased the inmates' character maturity, improving such abilities as their capability to take responsibility, feel more purposeful, and being more self-acceptant-features that previously were found to be associated with decreased aggressive antisocial behavior.

  • 2.
    Kerekes, Nora
    et al.
    University West, Department of Health Sciences, Section for health promotion and care sciences.
    Fielding, Cecilia
    R&E, Swedish Prison and Probation Services, Norrköping, Sweden.
    Apelqvist, Susanne
    R&E, Swedish Prison and Probation Services, Norrköping, Sweden.
    Yoga in Correctional Settings: A Randomized Controlled Study2017In: Frontiers in Psychiatry, ISSN 1664-0640, E-ISSN 1664-0640, Vol. 8, article id 204Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: The effect of yoga in the reduction of depressive symptoms, anxiety, stress, anger as well as in the increased ability of behavioral control has been shown. These effects of yoga are highly relevant for prison inmates who often have poor mental health and low impulse control. While it has been shown that yoga and mediation can be effective in improving subjective well-being, mental health, and executive functioning within prison populations, only a limited number of studies have proved this, using randomized controlled settings. Methods: A total of 152 participants from nine Swedish correctional facilities were randomly assigned to a 10-week yoga group (one class a week; N=77) or a control group (N=75). Before and after the intervention period, participants answered questionnaires measuring stress, aggression, affective states, sleep-quality and psychological well-being, and completed a computerized test measuring attention and impulsivity. Results: After the intervention period, significant improvements were found on 13 of the 16 variables within the yoga group. (e.g., less perceived stress, better sleep quality, an increased psychological and emotional well-being, less aggressive and antisocial behavior) and on two within the control group. Compared to the control group, yoga class participants reported significantly improved emotional well-being and less antisocial behavior after ten weeks of yoga. They also showed improved performance on the computerized test that measures attention and impulse control. Conclusion: It can be concluded that the yoga practiced in Swedish correctional facilities has positive effects on inmates’ well-being and on considerable risk factors associated with recidivism, such as impulsivity and antisocial behavior. Accordingly, the results show that yoga practice can play an important part in the rehabilitation of prison inmates.

  • 3.
    Nilsson, Thomas
    et al.
    Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health, University of Gothenburg.
    Falk, Örjan
    Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health, University of Gothenburg.
    Billstedt, Eva
    Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg.
    Kerekes, Nora
    University West, Department of Health Sciences, Section for health promotion and care sciences.
    Anckarsäter, Henrik
    Centre for Ethics, Law and Mental Health (CELAM), University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden, Forensic psychiatry, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg, Ragarden, House 1, SU – East Hospital, SE-416 85 Gothenburg, Sweden, Department of Forensic Psychiatry, Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, University of Gothenburg.
    Wallinius, Märta
    Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, Research and Development Unit, Regional Forensic Psychiatric Clinic, Växjö, Sweden.
    Hofvander, Björn
    Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund, Lund University.
    Aggressive Antisocial Behaviors Are Related to Character Maturity in Young Swedish Violent Offenders Independent of ADHD2016In: Frontiers in Psychiatry, ISSN 1664-0640, E-ISSN 1664-0640, Vol. 7, no NOV, p. 1-12, article id 185Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Antisocial personality and psychopathic traits have constantly been found to accompany criminal and aggressive behaviors, but little attention has been given to aspects of character maturity and its relation to such behaviors. The present study investigated (1) whether level of character maturity (low, medium, and high) is associated with amount of aggressive antisocial behaviors (AABs) and psychopathic traits in young men imprisoned for violent criminality, and (2) whether such an association is independent of coexisting attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Methods: Swedish males (N =  270, aged 18–25) sentenced to prison for violent and/or sexual criminality in the western region of the Swedish Prison and Probation Service underwent a thorough clinical examination during their in carceration. Data on character maturity, as measured by the character dimensions Self-Directedness and Cooperativeness of the Temperament and Character Inventory, were available for n = 148 subjects and were used to divide these offenders into three groups with low, medium, and high character maturity. These groups were then compared for variables reflecting criminal history, a DSM-IV diagnosis of ADHD, conduct disorder (CD) and substance use disorders (SUD), aggressive behaviors, and psychopathic traits. Results: Character maturity was consistently associated with less AABs and psychopathic personality traits; the group with the highest character maturity showed: (i) a later age at on set of criminality, (ii) a smaller number of prior violent criminal acts, (iii) lower prevalence of ADHD, CD, and SUD, (iv) less self-rated and expert-rated aggressive behaviors, and (v) less psychopathic traits. The association between character maturity and aggressive behaviors/psychopathic personality traits remained even when ADHD was controlled for. The only exception was sexual criminality, where the group with the highest character maturity contained the largest amount of sexual offenders. Conclusion: Higher character maturity appeared to be a protective factor among young male violent offenders, associated with less AABs, suggesting that character maturity isa promising target for treatment interventions for this group of individuals.

  • 4.
    Sfendla, Anis
    et al.
    Abdelmalek Essaâdi University, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Tetouan, Morocco.
    Malmström, Petter
    University West, Department of Health Sciences.
    Torstensson, Sara
    University West, Department of Health Sciences.
    Kerekes, Nora
    University West, Department of Health Sciences, Section for health promotion and care sciences.
    Yoga Practice Reduces the Psychological Distress Levels of Prison Inmates2018In: Frontiers in Psychiatry, ISSN 1664-0640, E-ISSN 1664-0640, Vol. 9, article id 407Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Background: Psychiatric ill-health is prevalent among prison inmates and often hampers their rehabilitation. Rehabilitation is crucial for reducing recidivistic offending. A few studies have presented evidence of the positive effect of yoga on the well-being of prison inmates. The conclusion of those previous studies that yoga is an effective method in the rehabilitation process of inmates, and deserves and requires further attention.Aims: The current study aimed to evaluate the effect of 10 weeks of yoga practice on the mental health profile, operationalized in the form of psychological distress, of inmates. Methods: 152 volunteer participants (133 men; 19 women) were randomly placed in either of two groups: to participate in weekly 90-minute yoga class (yoga group) or a weekly 90-minute free-choice physical exercise (control group). The study period lasted for 10 weeks. Prior to and at the end of the study period the participants completed a battery of self-reported inventories, including the Brief Symptom Inventory (BSI). Results: Physical activity (including yoga) significantly reduced the inmates’ levels of psychological distress. Yoga practice improved all primary symptom dimensions and its positive effect on the obsessive-compulsive, paranoid ideation, and somatization symptom dimensions of the BSI stayed significant even when comparing with the control group. Conclusions: Yoga as a form of physical activity is effective for reducing psychological distress levels in prison inmates, with specific effect on symptoms such as suspicious and fearful thoughts about losing autonomy, memory problems, difficulty in making decisions, trouble concentrating, obsessive thought and perception of bodily dysfunction.

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