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Add Health Study: The Impact of Parental Incarceration on the Physical and Mental Health of Young Adults

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have discovered some of the long-term negative physical and mental health effects of parental incarceration on children.

 

Using data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have discovered some of the long-term negative physical and mental health effects of parental incarceration on children.  Parental incarceration was associated with numerous health problems in young adulthood, including depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, cholesterol, asthma, migraines, HIV/AIDS, and fair/poor health.  Paternal incarceration was associated with increased likelihood of eight mental and physical health problems, while maternal incarceration was associated with increased likelihood of depression.

Read the DailyRx story here:  When Mom or Dad is in Prison (by Tara Haelle, released on March 17, 2013).

Excerpt:  “Having a parent in prison can mean hardships for the entire family. But those challenges may not go away when the parent is released. There may be long-term consequences for the kids.

A recent study found that children are more likely to have physical and mental health problems as adults if their parents had been in prison.

The risk was higher for mental health issues than for physical health issues among children of incarcerated parents.

The researchers said other studies suggest that ‘underlying mechanisms that link parental incarceration history to poor outcomes in offspring may include the lack of safe, stable, nurturing relationships and exposure to violence.’

More study is necessary to understand the possible explanations for the link more thoroughly.”

Rosalyn D. Lee is a Behavioral Scientist in the Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.  Xiangming Fang is a Professor of Economics and Director of the International Center for Applied Economics and Policy in the College of Economics and Management at China Agricultural University in Beijing, China.  Xiangming Fang was a Senior Health Economist with the Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Feijun Luo is an economist at the Division of Analysis, Research, and Practice Integration, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia.

Scholarly source:  Rosalyn D. Lee, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.A., Xiangming Fang, Ph.D., and Feijun Luo, Ph.D. (2013). The Impact of Parental Incarceration on the Physical and Mental Health of Young Adults. Pediatrics (published online March 18, 2013). http://dx.doi.org/10.1542/peds.2012-0627