CitationJones, Antwan; Buntman, Fran; Ishizawa, Hiromi; & Lese, Katherine (2022). The Mental Health Consequences of Parental Incarceration: Evidence from a Nationally Representative Longitudinal Study of Adolescents through Adulthood in the United States. American Journal of Criminal Justice.
AbstractLittle is known about how school and community conditions may impact the mental well-being of children with incarcerated parents. The present study investigates whether adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) measured at the family, school, and community levels explain the relationship between having incarcerated parents during childhood and mental health of young adults. Across four waves of data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health (Add Health), 6,986 participants who were in grades 7–12 completed questionnaires on various sociodemographic, criminological, and health metrics. Results indicate that children with incarcerated parents are prone to depression, and the more often a parent has been incarcerated, the higher the level of depression for the child. Moreover, the more times a parent was incarcerated, the more likely other adversities are present. The school context provides a unique lens to explore the relationship between parental incarceration and depression. Inadequate school resources amplified the negative effects of parental incarceration on mental health. Taken together, the results of this study underscore how parental incarceration is a distinctly harmful childhood experience, and this work expands previous findings that experiencing parental incarceration during childhood has long-term, generational consequences to mental health.
Reference TypeJournal Article
Journal TitleAmerican Journal of Criminal Justice