Saturday, January 14, 2023
Encanto B, 2nd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
The fourth symposium study uses quantitative methods to elucidate the “long arm of maternal incarceration” and its role in shaping the mental health of formerly incarcerated women and the social-emotional development of their children. Prior evidence comes largely from studies of maternal incarceration during a child’s lifetime, whereas this study finds the incarceration of women prior to their child’s birth may also undermine their children’s developmental outcomes. Using a sample of 1,099 mother-child dyads participating in a home visiting program for low-income families, this study found 21.4% of mothers reported histories of incarceration prior to their child’s birth, with Indigenous mothers having a greater odds of incarceration than white, Black, and Latinx mothers. A path analysis revealed that women’s incarceration prior to their child’s birth was indirectly associated with greater social-emotional problems in young children via poorer maternal mental health (Est.= .09, 95% CI= .02, .16). These findings highlight the disproportionate rates of criminal legal involvement among women impacted by classism and racism, and the need to address systemic forces that may compromise the mental health of women with incarceration histories.