Accentuating the positive or eliminating the negative? Paternal incarceration and caregiver - Child relationship quality

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Abstract

Mounting evidence links paternal incarceration to harmful outcomes for the children of incarcerated fathers. These findings hold across a host of important behavioral, developmental, and attainment outcomes, including mental health and behavioral problems, substance use, educational attainment, and social inequality. The process by which paternal incarceration causes poor outcomes is much less clear, however. Declines in quality parenting by the partners of former inmates represent one important domain where theory would suggest important effects but where the research evidence lags far behind. This Article analyzes the effects of paternal incarceration on parenting quality and finds that paternal incarceration has no effect on positive parenting behaviors but significantly increases problematic parenting behaviors, including negative conflict resolution tactics and physical abuse. The implications of the results for childhood well-being and development are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)905-928
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Criminal Law and Criminology
Volume104
Issue number4
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Law

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