Cognitive Decline as a Result of Incarceration and the Effects of a CBT/MT Intervention: A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial

Rebecca Umbach, Adrian Raine, Noelle R. Leonard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This study primarily tests whether incarceration negatively affects cognitive functioning; namely, emotion regulation, cognitive control, and emotion recognition. As a secondary interest, we test protective effects of a cognitive behavioral therapy/mindfulness training (CBT/MT) intervention. Dormitories containing 197 incarcerated males aged 16 to 18 years were randomly assigned to either a CBT/MT program or an active control condition. A cognitive task was administered pretreatment and again 4 months later, upon treatment completion. Performance on all outcome variables was significantly worse at follow-up compared with baseline. There were marginally significant group by time interactions. While the control group performance significantly declined in both cognitive control and emotion regulation, the CBT/MT group showed no significant decline in either outcome. This is the first study to probe the effects of incarceration on these three processes. Findings suggest that incarceration worsens a known risk factor for crime (cognitive functioning), and that a CBT/MT intervention may help buffer against declines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-55
Number of pages25
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Volume45
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

Keywords

  • adolescent
  • cognition
  • cognitive behavioral therapy
  • executive functioning
  • incarceration
  • intervention
  • mindfulness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology(all)
  • Law

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