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The role of visits and parent-child relationship quality in promoting positive outcomes for children of incarcerated parents

NCJ Number
Child & Family Social Work Volume: 11 Dated: 2021
Date Published

This study sought to determine the effects of parent visits on a range of psychological outcomes among children of incarcerated parents.


Drawing on data from the Mentoring Children of Incarcerated Parents Enhancement Demonstration Project - a recent, large-scale evaluation of mentoring program practices – the current study hypothesized that ongoing contact would lead to an improved parent–child relationship, which would promote a range of psychosocial outcomes in children. Results of a structural equation model (n = 228) revealed a significant positive association between a child’s frequency of visits with her/his incarcerated parent and the child–parent relationship quality. This, in turn, was significantly associated with the child's life purpose and depression/loneliness. Findings from the current study shed light on the importance of children's visits with their incarcerated parents for the children’s later psychological outcomes. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2021