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  • Exploring the External Validity of Survey Data with Triangulation

    Toresen Lokdam, Nicoline, Riksheim Stavseth, Marianne, and Bukten, Anne. "Exploring the External Validity of Survey Data with Triangulation: A Case Study from the Norwegian Offender Mental Health and Addiction (Norma) Study." Research Methods in Medicine & Health Sciences 2, no. 4 (2021): 140-47. Objectives This paper demonstrates how to investigate the external validity of a study sample by triangulating survey and registry data, using data from the Norwegian Offender Mental Health and Addiction (NorMA) Study as a case. Methods We use survey data from the NorMA study (n = 1495), including the NorMA cohort (n = 733), and data from the Norwegian Prison Registry on all people imprisoned on 1 September 2013 (n = 3386). Triangulation was performed by (1) comparing the NorMA cohort to those lost to follow-up (n = 762), using survey data from the NorMA study. Secondly, we compared the NorMA cohort to the one-day population, using data from the Norwegian Prison Registry. We also stratified the one-day sample by possession of a Norwegian personal identification number (PIN). Results We found differences in birthplace, imprisonment and drug use between the NorMA cohort, lost to follow-up and the one-day population. Twenty-three percent of the one-day population did not have a Norwegian PIN. The NorMA cohort was more similar to those with a Norwegian PIN in the one-day population. Our triangulation demonstrates that 56–62% of the Norwegian prison population had an indication of drug use before imprisonment. Conclusions The NorMA cohort was overall representative of the one-day prison population holding a Norwegian PIN and less representative of prisoners without a Norwegian PIN. Using this method provides tangible inputs on the strengths and limitations of a study sample and can be a feasible method to investigate the external validity of survey data.

  • New colleagues on the PriSUD project

    Welcome to our two new colleagues on the PriSUD project: Vegard Svendsen and Torill Tverborgvik! Vegard will work as a Ph.D. research fellow and will work with nPRIS data, including the use of social security data. Torill has started working in a postdoc position and will focus on Nordic cooperation in the PriSUD project. We are very happy to have even more talented people on board and very much looking forward to working with both!

  • Too much or too little medication?

    Lindstad M, Skurtveit S, Bukten A. "Too much or too little medication? A national study of prescribed psychotropic drugs among inmates in Norwegian prisons." Norsk Epidemiologi 2021; 29 (1-2): 85-95. Background: Prescription drug use in the Norwegian population is increasing. Knowledge of who the users areand usage patterns is a prerequisite for optimizing prescription drug use in all groups of the population. There are no updated studies describing prescription drug use among prisoners in Norway. The purpose of this study is to describe the use of prescribed psychotropic drugs among inmates in prison before and during imprisonment and to investigate factors associated with prescription drug use while in prison. Material and method: The study is based on self-reported data from "The Norwegian Offender Mental Health and Addiction Study" (NorMA) which was conducted in the period 2013-2014 at 57 prison units in Norway. A total of 1495 inmates (96 women) responded to the questionnaire. We investigated self-reported use of psychotropic drugs related to: hypnotics, anxiolytics, antidepressants, OMT-medications, pain medication and ADHD-medications. We used logistic regression models to investigate relationships between different background factors and the use of prescribed drugs during imprisonment. Results: Hypnotics were most commonly used, both before and during imprisonment. Twenty percent of inmates had used hypnotics daily during imprisonment. Inmates used more psychotropic drugs than the general population, with the exception of pain medications. During imprisonment, usage of most psychotropic drugs imprisonment were associated with symptoms of mental illness, harmful drug use before imprisonment, having received social benefits and to have had an upbringing marked by drug use and mental problems. Conclusion: Our findings show that prisoners' mental health and substance use situation should have a high priority during imprisonment. It is expected that inmates use more prescribed psychotropic drugs than the general population. The fact that the general population uses more pain medication than inmates should therefore be investigated further.

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