Linking Childhood Socialization to Institutional Avoidance: The Case of Parental Incarceration


Lanuza, Yader & Turney, Lrostom (2019). Linking Childhood Socialization to Institutional Avoidance: The Case of Parental Incarceration. Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Assocation. New York, NY.


Vast surveillance, especially of those with criminal justice contact, is a key feature of contemporary societies. Formerly incarcerated individuals engage in institutional avoidance to evade this monitoring, and such institutional avoidance may extend to children of the incarcerated. Using the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), we examine the relationship between parental incarceration and young adult institutional avoidance, measured by avoidance of financial institutions, medical institutions, school and work, volunteer organizations, and religious institutions. We find that family institutional avoidance during adolescence—more than young adult’s impaired health, reduced trust in government, and own criminal justice contact—explains why individuals who experience parental incarceration during childhood or adolescence engage in more institutional avoidance than those who never experience parental incarceration. We also find some evidence that this association is concentrated among White children compared to Black children. Taken together, these findings suggest that parental incarceration socializes children to avoid institutional settings, a disposition that endures through the transition to adulthood. These findings highlight the subtle and pervasive way that parental incarceration influences offspring, leading to behavior that can exacerbate social inequalities.

Reference Type

Conference proceeding

Book Title

Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Assocation


Lanuza, Yader
Turney, Lrostom

Year Published


City of Publication

New York, NY

Reference ID