The Long-Term Effects of Parental Incarceration Does Parental Incarceration in Childhood or Adolescence Predict Depressive Symptoms in Adulthood?

Shytierra Gaston
Publication Date
2016
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From: Criminal Justice and Behavior

Researchers have linked parental incarceration to a host of short-term, negative consequences for children and adolescents. However, it is unclear whether offspring experience some of these consequences, particularly depressive symptoms, as adults, especially racial/ethnic minorities who disproportionately experience parental incarceration. The present study uses data from Add Health to investigate whether parental incarceration during childhood or adolescence predicts depressive symptoms between ages 24 and 34 and whether race/ethnicity moderates this relationship. Results indicate that parental incarceration is associated with long-term consequences for some offspring, but not others. Specifically, respondents whose parent was first incarcerated before birth or age 1 appear to be at risk for adult depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the moderation analysis reveals similarities in the effects of parental incarceration across racial/ethnic groups. Findings from this study suggest that parental incarceration might be associated with long-term mental health consequences only for certain subgroups.

Citation

Gaston, S. (2016). The Long-Term Effects of Parental Incarceration Does Parental Incarceration in Childhood or Adolescence Predict Depressive Symptoms in Adulthood? Criminal Justice and Behavior, 43 (8): 1056-1075. doi:10.1177/0093854816628905