Department of Health, Behavior, and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, 624 N. Broadway, Baltimore, MD 21205.
Impact of Adult Sons’ Incarceration on African American Mothers’ Psychological Distress
Article first published online: 10 APR 2006
Journal of Marriage and Family
Volume 68, Issue 2, pages 430–441, May 2006
How to Cite
Green, K. M., Ensminger, M. E., Robertson, J. A. and Juon, H.-S. (2006), Impact of Adult Sons’ Incarceration on African American Mothers’ Psychological Distress. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68: 430–441. doi: 10.1111/j.1741-3737.2006.00262.x
- Issue published online: 10 APR 2006
- Article first published online: 10 APR 2006
- African American families;
- psychological distress
This longitudinal study examines the effect of sons’ incarceration on their mothers’ psychological distress. Interviews were conducted over the life course with a community cohort of African American mothers who had children in first grade in 1966 – 1967 when the study began (N =615). Thirty years later, their sons had significant rates of incarceration (22.4%). Structural equation modeling showed that the more recent the incarceration, the greater the mothers’ psychological distress, even controlling for earlier socioeconomic status and psychological well-being. Financial difficulties and greater burden of grandparenting are associated with having a son incarcerated and they mediate the relationship between the incarceration and a mother’s psychological distress. Results suggest that incarceration has important effects on family members’ well-being.