12 research outputs found

    Postnatal Depressive Symptoms Among Mothers and Fathers of Infants Born Preterm: Prevalence and Impacts on Children's Early Cognitive Function

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    OBJECTIVE: Preterm birth is associated with lower cognitive functioning. One potential pathway is postnatal parental depression. The authors assessed depressive symptoms in mothers and fathers after preterm birth, and identified the impacts of both prematurity and parental depressive symptoms on children's early cognitive function. METHOD: Data were from the nationally representative Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, Birth Cohort (n = 5350). Depressive symptoms at 9 months were assessed by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CESD) and children's cognitive function at 24 months by the Bayley Short Form, Research Edition. Weighted generalized estimating equation models examined the extent to which preterm birth, and mothers' and fathers' postnatal depressive symptoms impacted children's cognitive function at 24 months, and whether the association between preterm birth and 24-month cognitive function was mediated by parental depressive symptoms. RESULTS: At 9 months, fathers of very preterm (<32 weeks gestation) and moderate/late preterm (32-37 weeks gestation) infants had higher CESD scores than fathers of term-born (≄37 weeks gestation) infants (p value = .02); preterm birth was not associated with maternal depressive symptoms. In multivariable analyses, preterm birth was associated with lower cognitive function at 24 months; this association was unaffected by adjustment for parental depressive symptoms. Fathers', but not mothers', postnatal depressive symptoms predicted lower cognitive function in the fully adjusted model (ÎČ = -0.11, 95% confidence interval, -0.18 to -0.03). CONCLUSION: Fathers of preterm infants have more postnatal depressive symptomology than fathers of term-born infants. Fathers' depressive symptoms also negatively impact children's early cognitive function. The national findings support early identification and treatment of fathers of preterm infants with depressive symptoms

    Comparing Emotion Recognition Skills among Children with and without Jailed Parents

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    Approximately five million children in the United States have experienced a co-resident parent’s incarceration in jail or prison. Parental incarceration is associated with multiple risk factors for maladjustment, which may contribute to the increased likelihood of behavioral problems in this population. Few studies have examined early predictors of maladjustment among children with incarcerated parents, limiting scholars’ understanding about potential points for prevention and intervention. Emotion recognition skills may play a role in the development of maladjustment and may be amenable to intervention. The current study examined whether emotion recognition skills differed between three- to eight-year-old children with and without jailed parents. We hypothesized that children with jailed parents would have a negative bias in processing emotions and less accuracy compared to children without incarcerated parents. Data were drawn from 128 families, including 75 children (53.3% male, M = 5.37 years) with jailed parents and 53 children (39.6% male, M = 5.02 years) without jailed parents. Caregivers in both samples provided demographic information. Children performed an emotion recognition task in which they were asked to produce a label for photos expressing six different emotions (i.e., happy, surprised, neutral, sad, angry, fearful). For scoring, the number of positive and negative labels were totaled; the number of negative labels provided for neutral and positive stimuli were totaled (measuring negative bias/overextension of negative labels); and valence accuracy (i.e., positive, negative, neutral) and label accuracy were calculated. Results indicated a main effect of parental incarceration on the number of positive labels provided; children with jailed parents presented significantly fewer positive emotions than the comparison group. There was also a main effect of parental incarceration on negative bias (the overextension of negative labels); children with jailed parents had a negative bias compared to children without jailed parents. However, these findings did not hold when controlling for child age, race/ethnicity, receipt of special education services, and caregiver education. The results provide some evidence for the effect of the context of parental incarceration in the development of negative emotion recognition biases. Limitations and implications for future research and interventions are discussed

    Coparenting and Mental Health in Families with Jailed Parents

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    The number of families affected by parental incarceration in the United States has increased dramatically in the past three decades, with primarily negative implications for adult mental health and child and family well-being. Despite research documenting increased strain on coparenting relationships, less is known regarding the relation between adult mental health and coparenting quality. This study investigated coparenting in families with young children currently experiencing parental incarceration. In a diverse sample of 86 jailed parent–caregiver dyads (n = 172), this analysis of a short-term longitudinal study examined the links among jailed parents’ and children’s at-home caregivers’ externalizing mental health symptoms and perceived coparenting alliance quality using the Actor–Partner Interdependence Model. Analyses using structural equation modeling revealed a medium sized negative partner effect for externalizing behaviors on coparenting alliance for jailed parents, wherein caregivers increased externalizing symptoms related to jailed parents’ lower reported coparenting quality. Caregiver–partner effects and both actor effects resulted in small effects. These findings highlight the roles of mental health and coparenting relationship quality when a parent is incarcerated and contribute to the existing literature on incarcerated coparenting, with implications for theory and practice

    The Health and Development of Young Children Who Witnessed Their Parent’s Arrest Prior to Parental Jail Incarceration

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    Most U.S. incarceration occurs in jails, with more than 10 million annual admissions, and most individuals in jail are parents of minor children. In this short-term longitudinal study, we examined the health and development of young children who did or did not witness their parent’s arrest prior to parental jail incarceration. 228 individuals in 76 triads (incarcerated parents, children, at-home caregivers) were enrolled from four jails in two states. Jailed parents and caregivers reported on whether the child witnessed the parent’s arrest or crime. Children’s caregivers completed questionnaires about children’s emotional symptoms during the prior 6 months and demographics, as well as children’s emotional reactions to separation from the parent and child health at the initial assessment and 2 weeks later. Trained researchers conducted a developmental assessment with children while waiting to visit parents. Results of regression-based moderated mediation analyses indicated that when their emotional symptoms were high, children who witnessed parental arrest were more likely to have poorer health initially and more intense negative reactions to the parent leaving for jail. In addition, when children’s general emotional symptoms were low, children who witnessed their parent’s arrest were more likely to exhibit developmental delays, especially in their early academic skills, compared to children who did not witness the arrest. Witnessing the parent’s crime related to missed milestones in social and adaptive development. Findings have implications for policies regarding safeguarding children during parental arrest and referrals for health- and development-promotion services following parental criminal justice system involvement

    Effects of parental incarceration on children: Lessons from international research

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    In recent years, the increasing availability of longitudinal datasets has made it possible to investigate the consequences of parental imprisonment for children living in different countries. In this chapter, we compare international findings on three child outcomes hypothesized to be affected by parental imprisonment: offending, substance use, and mental illness. By comparing results across countries, we consider which effects of parental imprisonment on children are internationally generalizable. We find that with the current evidence available, it is difficult to disentangle cross-national differences in the effects of parental imprisonment on children from differences in sample selection, time of data collection, and other differences in research design. However, the increasing diversity and richness of international data sources nevertheless widen the focus of research on parental imprisonment in new ways. We make suggestions for research directions that will extend knowledge about the specific circumstances and mechanisms that determine whether and how imprisonment affects close family members of prisoners