Title

The Effects of Parental Incarceration on Childhood Well-being and Delinquency

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Graduate

Major

Clinical Psychology

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Esther Malm, PhD.

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

As the United States has one of the highest incarceration rates around the world, young children have a greater risk of being influenced by the disruption in their lives. According to the cumulative risk model, as children begin to feel the impact of stressful events, they are at risk for multiple maladaptive problems within their lives. Therefore, the parental incarceration singlehandedly may not affect the child, but other variables related to incarceration, such as length of sentence and adjustment in living situation, could contribute to the child’s states of well-being and risk of delinquency. When discussing outcomes for childhood physical, mental, and behavioral well-being there are mixed results showing the adversity of these children with parents incarcerated.

We hypothesize that each of the three previously mentioned well-beings will directly affect the child’s delinquent behaviors, with a direct moderator of parental incarceration. Therefore, if the child has good physical, mental, and behavior well-being, they are less likely to be involved in delinquent behaviors; however, if a parent is incarcerated, regardless of the child’s well-being they are more likely to develop delinquent behaviors after the incarceration. This research question will be examining the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing longitudinal dataset, which followed about 4,000 parents and children through early and middle childhood.

Keywords: parental incarceration, childhood delinquency, child well-being

Affiliations

Psychology: Projects in Progress

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The Effects of Parental Incarceration on Childhood Well-being and Delinquency

As the United States has one of the highest incarceration rates around the world, young children have a greater risk of being influenced by the disruption in their lives. According to the cumulative risk model, as children begin to feel the impact of stressful events, they are at risk for multiple maladaptive problems within their lives. Therefore, the parental incarceration singlehandedly may not affect the child, but other variables related to incarceration, such as length of sentence and adjustment in living situation, could contribute to the child’s states of well-being and risk of delinquency. When discussing outcomes for childhood physical, mental, and behavioral well-being there are mixed results showing the adversity of these children with parents incarcerated.

We hypothesize that each of the three previously mentioned well-beings will directly affect the child’s delinquent behaviors, with a direct moderator of parental incarceration. Therefore, if the child has good physical, mental, and behavior well-being, they are less likely to be involved in delinquent behaviors; however, if a parent is incarcerated, regardless of the child’s well-being they are more likely to develop delinquent behaviors after the incarceration. This research question will be examining the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing longitudinal dataset, which followed about 4,000 parents and children through early and middle childhood.

Keywords: parental incarceration, childhood delinquency, child well-being