CitationZhang, Xing & Dwyer, Allison (2014). Maternal incarceration and children’s risky behaviors in young adulthood. 2014 Add Health Users Conference. Bethesda, MD.
AbstractWhile a great deal of literature has focused on the effect a father's incarceration has for children, but much less has explored how children react to maternal incarceration. This paper looks at the long-term implications of childhood maternal incarceration for a set of negative outcomes in young adulthood: intimate partner violence, delinquent behavior, contact with the criminal justice system, and substance use. We hypothesize that a young adult whose mother was incarcerated during his or her childhood is more likely to be in abusive and aggressive relationships, report more delinquent behaviors and arrests, and have higher substance use as an adult. Using data from Wave I and Wave IV of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health as well as OLS and logistic regression models, we find that maternal incarceration is associated with higher levels of contact with the criminal justice system, delinquent behavior, and substance use in young adulthood. While maternal incarceration is also associated with higher levels of relationship abuse and aggression, these associations disappear upon introduction of other risk factors faced by children whose mothers are incarcerated. We conclude that maternal incarceration can have lasting implications for grown children, contributing to the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage.
Reference TypeConference proceeding
Book Title2014 Add Health Users Conference