Effects of parental incarceration on children: Lessons from international research

Kirsten L. Besemer*, Susan M. Dennison, Catrien C.J.H. Bijleveld, Joseph Murray

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book / Report / Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review

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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.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook on Children with Incarcerated Parents
Subtitle of host publicationResearch, Policy, and Practice
EditorsJ. Mark Eddy, Julie Poehlmann-Tynan
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9783030167073
ISBN (Print)9783030167066, 9783030167097
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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