Tell me about your life

“Tell Me About Your Life”: Life History Narrative Inquiry with a Male Forensic Patient Population with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder

CO-INVESTIGATORS: Dr. Mansfield Mela, Robert Henry

To develop effective services and minimize reoffending in those with FASD and a co-morbid psychiatric illness, the intersection of the pathology with the role of child, adolescent and adult socio-economic adversity in shaping deceptive and criminal behavior must be considered. A subjective understanding (from the patient’s point of view) of deception and criminality will yield important insight into the effectiveness of punishment (including incarceration) as a deterrent for persons living with FASD, and assist in developing efficacious post-incarceration supports.

This study builds upon clinical research currently being undertaken by Dr. Mela. The potential implications of the project will be to fill in gaps in the research literature concerning how best to support adults living with FASD and co-morbid psychiatric illness, particularly in areas of prevention of deceptive and criminal behavior. Through life history narratives, this study will trace the stories of a group of high needs forensic patients living with FASD, linking the social determinants of health, personal adversity and resilience with the “primary and secondary disabilities” of FASD and co-morbid psychiatric illness. To date there has been limited success in addressing the needs of this population who are at elevated risk of engaging in activities (intentionally or unintentionally) that may threaten their eligibility for social assistance (most often their only source of income) or may be associated with criminal activity and lead to recidivism.