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The Norwegian Offender Mental Health and Addiction Study - NorMA

The three main aims of the NorMA-study are to (1) describe substance use (current and past) and mental health among inmates in Norwegian prisons, (2) establish a cohort where survey data are linked with register data based on inmates’ consent and personal identification number, and (3) describe and explore data patterns, inmate factors, or – subgroups associated with pre- and post-release outcomes.

The NorMA survey questionnaire covered a wide range of topics, including demographics (nationality, employment, education, income, social support, and housing) and the status and length of imprisonment (security level, charges and convictions, and participation in correctional programs). Mental health questions included enquiry about the participant's experiences with anxiety, depression, and psychosis and also their experiences of growing up; for example, did their family have problems with alcohol, narcotics, or mental health. Questions regarding physical health were also included, covering well-being, participation in opioid maintenance treatment, hepatitis and HIV, exercise, and smoking. 

A total of 1,499 prison inmates responded to the survey questionnaire, including 1,396 men and 96 women. Data were collected in 57 prison units in Norway during 2013 and 2014, including high- and low-security units and transitional houses. There are altogether three prisons for women in Norway, which were all covered during data collection. A full description of the NorMA-study has been published and can be found here.

The NorMA-project is a unique and comprehensive study of a national cohort. The project has several collaborations within different fields.

1.      Quality of life and exercise: led by Ashley Muller, Folkehelseinstituttet 

2.      Psykoses: led by Eline Borger Rognli, RusForsk at Oslo University hospital

3.      Anabolic steroids: led by Ingrid A. Havnes, Nasjonal Kompetansetjeneste, TSB.

4.      Alcohol use among inmates: led by Hilde Pape, KRUS 

5.      Hepatitis C: led by Knut Boe Kielland, ROP


Master students using NorMA-data:

Syntetiske cannabinoider i norske fengsler: Forekomst og faktorer som kan ha sammenheng med bruk (2016). Eva Linn Wingerei Lilleheil

Cannabis and psychosis. Age of onset of cannabis use and lifetime prevalence of psychotic symptoms (2018). Maja Sandberg

- Bruk av foreskrevne legemidler, før og under soning (2019). Marianne Lindstad.