Examining the Relationship between Children’s Behavioral Outcomes and Life Events among Incarcerated Mothers
Dr. Zina T. McGee, Dr. Bertha Davis, Tyrell Connor, Samaria Haysbert, Alfreada Kelly

Although there is much research examining maternal incarceration and children’s emotional and behavioral outcomes, less is known about how these outcomes are associated with specific living arrangements and economic stability as life events, or stressors, prior to, and after, incarceration. The purpose of this project is to examine the behavioral outcomes among children of incarcerated mothers and the extent to which economic stability and living arrangements differ among this population. Specifically, the research question guiding the analysis is: What is the relationship between economic stability, living arrangements, and behavioral outcomes among children of incarcerated mothers? The data collected are derived from a sample of 200 recently released female prison inmates and questions relating to life events or stressors are derived from a survey addressing mother’s employment status, hardships with finding a job, and the effects of residing in a bad neighborhood on parenting issues. Questions regarding living arrangements also address the length of time given to place children prior to incarceration, level of difficulty finding a place for the children to live, and number of placements for the children while the mother was in custody. Further, questions explaining the behavioral outcomes of the children were measured with mothers’ reports of common reactions such as difficulty in school and anger resulting from perceived abandonment. Results show significant relationships between economic hardships, problems associated with living arrangements, and children’s internalizing and externalizing symptomatology. Suggestions for future research are addressed.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jswhr.v2n2a4