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Maternal Incarceration: Effects on Caregivers' Mental Health

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Author: Bravo, Adrian
Advisor: Dallaire, Danielle H.
Committee Members: Sinton, Meghan; Ousey, Graham Cristopher, 1968-
Issued Date: 7/17/2012
Subjects: Incarceration
Caregiving
Children
Mental Health
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/16752
Description: The caregivers of incarcerated mothers are an at-risk, understudied population. The goal of the present study was to examine if becoming a recent primary caregiver, particularly for the elderly, has an impact on the caregiver's mental health and parenting behavior, and if an increase in poor parenting behavior is associated with children's anxiety and depression symptoms. Interviewed were 83 mothers incarcerated in jail (61.4% Black), their 6- to 12-year-old children (n = 83, 43 girls, M age = 9.31), and the child's caregiver (n = 83, M age = 49.25, 65.1% grandparents). Caregivers completed the Psychiatric Diagnostic Screen Questionnaire (PSQ) and Parent Behavior Inventory (PBI). Children completed the Multidimensional Anxiety Scale for Children (MASC) and the Child Depression Inventory (CDI). Results show that age, mother co-residency, and length of caring did not have an effect on caregiver mental health. Though, younger caregivers who reported that they have cared for the child for more than 6 months with the mother co-residing reported higher drug use. Additionally, younger caregivers who reported that they have cared for the child for more than 6 months with the mother co-residing reported higher hostile/coercive parenting behavior. Furthermore, higher hostile/coercive parenting behavior was positively correlated with the interpersonal problems subscale of the CDI as well as the social anxiety, and physical symptoms subscales of the MASC. This study indicates that future intervention studies may offer additional support for younger caregivers who have cared for the child for more than 6 months and had the mother co-reside.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Psychology


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