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BACKGROUND: Information on psychiatric morbidity of prisoners has almost entirely been based on research in Western countries and it is uncertain whether these research findings are applicable to other settings. AIMS: The primary objective was to investigate the prevalence of psychiatric disorders in Iranian prisoners. METHOD: Through stratified random sampling, 351 prisoners were interviewed using the clinical version of the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders and the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening Version. RESULTS: The majority (88%) of prisoners met DSM-IV criteria for lifetime diagnosis of at least one Axis I disorder and 57% were diagnosed with current Axis I disorders. Opioid dependence (73%) had the highest prevalence among lifetime diagnoses, whereas major depressive disorder (29%) was the most common current diagnosis. Psychopathy was recorded in 23%. Prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders were significantly different among offence categories. CONCLUSIONS: The results suggest that a substantial burden of psychiatric morbidity exists in the prison population of Iran, with treatment challenges that appear to be different from those observed in inmates in Western countries.

Original publication




Journal article


Br J Psychiatry

Publication Date





159 - 164


Adolescent, Adult, Age Distribution, Aged, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Comorbidity, Depressive Disorder, Major, Humans, Iran, Male, Mental Disorders, Middle Aged, Opioid-Related Disorders, Phobic Disorders, Prevalence, Prisoners, Psychotic Disorders, Substance-Related Disorders