Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 214–224 | Cite as

Children Exposed to the Arrest of a Family Member: Associations with Mental Health

  • Yvonne Humenay Roberts
  • Frank J. Snyder
  • Joy S. Kaufman
  • Meghan K. Finley
  • Amy Griffin
  • Janet Anderson
  • Tim Marshall
  • Susan Radway
  • Virginia Stack
  • Cindy A. Crusto
Original Paper

Abstract

The arrest of a parent or other family member can be detrimental to children’s health. To study the impact of exposure to the arrest of a family member on children’s mental health and how said association may change across developmental periods, we examined baseline data for children (birth through 11 years) entering family-based systems of care (SOC). Children exposed to the arrest of a family member had experienced significantly more 5.38 (SD = 2.59) different types of potentially traumatic events (PTE) than children not exposed to arrest 2.84 (SD = 2.56). Multiple regression model results showed that arrest exposure was significantly associated with greater behavioral and emotional challenges after controlling for children’s age, gender, race/ethnicity, household income, caregiver’s education, parenting factors, and other PTE exposure. Further analyses revealed differences in internalizing and externalizing behaviors associated with arrest exposure across developmental levels. This study highlights some of the mental health challenges for children exposed to the arrest of a family member, while adding to our knowledge of how such an event affects children across different developmental periods. More trauma-informed, developmentally appropriate systems need to be in place at all levels to assist children and families experiencing arrest.

Keywords

Young children Arrest Trauma Mental health Development 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This project was funded through cooperative agreements provided to the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut by the Center for Mental Health Services of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Support for Drs. Roberts and Snyder was provided by a NIDA funded Postdoctoral Research Training Program (T32 DA019426). We acknowledge Jo-Ann Gargiulo, M. P. H., and Miralys Camelo, M. A. for collecting and managing study data, and Christopher Bory, Psy.D., for his insight and comments on the paper. We thank the Risk and Resiliency Lab group, Division of Prevention and Community Research, Department of Psychiatry for their helpful remarks on the paper. We thank our community partners for supporting, helping to conceptualize, and implementing this study. We especially thank the children and their families who participated in this study. Janet Anderson is now at Wheeler Clinic, Plainville, CT; Meghan Finley is now at Albertus Magnus College, New Haven, CT; Susan Radway is now at Connecticut State Department of Education, Hartford, CT.

References

  1. Abidin, R. R. (1995). Parenting stress index: professional manual Odessa. FL: Psychological Assessment Resources, Inc.Google Scholar
  2. Achenbach, T. M., & Rescorla, L. A. (2001). Manual for ASEBA school-age forms and profiles. Burlington, VT: Research Center for Children, Youth, & Families.Google Scholar
  3. Arditti, J. A., Lambert-Shute, J., & Joest, K. (2003). Saturday morning at the jail: Implications of incarceration for families and children. Family Relations: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Applied Family Studies, 52(3), 195–204. doi:10.1111/j.1741-3729.2003.00195.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker, L. L., & Cunningham, A. J. (2005). Learning to listen, learning to help: understanding woman abuse and its effects on children. Ontario, Canada: Centre for Children & Families in the Justice System.Google Scholar
  5. Baker, L. L., Cunningham, A. J., & Jaffe, P. G. (2004). Future directions in ending domestic violence in the lives of children. In P. G. Jaffe, L. L. Baker, & A. J. Cunningham (Eds.), Protecting children from domestic violence: strategies for community intervention (pp. 221–230). New York, NY: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  6. Ball, J. D. (2009). Intergenerational transmission of abuse of incarcerated fathers: A study of the measurement of abuse. Journal of Family Issues, 30(3), 371–390. doi:10.1177/0192513X08326327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Begun, A. L., & Rose, S. J. (2011). Programs for children of parents incarcerated for substance-related problems Children of substance-abusing parents: Dynamics and treatment (pp. 243–267). New York, NY: Springer Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  8. Berent, R., Crusto, C. A., Lotyczewski, B. S., Greenberg, S. R., Hightower, A. D., & Kaufman, J. S. (2008). Development and psychometric refinement of a measure assessing young children’s exposure to violence: Parent report of children’s experiences. Best Practices in Mental Health, 4(1), 19–30.Google Scholar
  9. Berry, M., Johnson, T., Severson, M., & Postmus, J. L. (2009). Wives and mothers at risk: The role of marital and maternal status in criminal activity and incarceration. Families in Society, 90(3), 293–300.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bory, C. (personal communication, March 22, 2012). [REACT: Supporting Children when a Caregiver is Arrested].Google Scholar
  11. Bowlby, J. (1977). The making and breaking of affectional bonds. I. Aetiology and psychopathology in the light of attachment theory. An expanded version of the Fiftieth Maudsley Lecture, delivered before the Royal College of Psychiatrists, 19 November 1976. British Journal of Psychiatry, 130(3), 201.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cassidy, J., Poehlmann, J., & Shaver, P. R. (2010). An attachment perspective on incarcerated parents and their children. Attachment & Human Development, 12(4), 285–288. doi:10.1080/14616730903417110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chung, Y. (2011). Children’s exposure to paternal imprisonment: Incidence, evolution, and correlates among young nonmarital children. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(5), 575–587. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.10.008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Community Mental Health Services. (2005). Data manual. Phase IV of the CMHS national evaluation. Washington, DC: US Department of Health & Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.Google Scholar
  15. Cook, J. R., & Kilmer, R. P. (Eds.) (2010). Defining the scope of systems of care: An ecological perspective. Evaluation and Program Planning, 33, 18–20. doi: 10.1016/j.evalprogplan.2009.05.006.
  16. Costello, E. J. (1996). The great smoky mountains study of youth: Goals, design, methods, and the prevalence of DSM-III-R disorders. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53(12), 1129.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Costello, E. J., Pescosolido, B., Angold, A., & Burns, B. (1998). A family network-based model of access to child mental health services. Research in Community Mental Health, 9, 165–190.Google Scholar
  18. Crusto, C. A., Whitson, M. L., Walling, S. M., Feinn, R., Friedman, S. R., Reynolds, J., et al. (2010). Posttraumatic stress among young urban children exposed to family violence and other potentially traumatic events. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 23(6), 716–724. doi:10.1002/jts.20590.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Dallaire, D. H. (2007). Children with incarcerated mothers: Developmental outcomes, special challenges and recommendations. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, 28(1), 15–24. doi:10.1016/j.appdev.2006.10.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dallaire, D. H., & Wilson, L. C. (2010). The relation of exposure to parental criminal activity, arrest, and sentencing to children’s maladjustment. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 19(4), 404–418. doi:10.1007/s10826-009-9311-9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dannerbeck, A. M. (2005). Differences in parenting attributes, experiences, and behaviors of delinquent youth with and without a parental history of incarceration. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 3(3), 199–213. doi:10.1177/1541204005276260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Dowd, K., Kinsey, S., Wheeless, S., Thissen, R., Richardson, J., & Suresh, R. (2003). National survey of child and adolescent well-being: Combined waves 1–3 data file user’s manual. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University.Google Scholar
  23. Drotar, D., Flannery, D., Day, E., Friedman, S., Creeden, R., Gartland, H., et al. (2003). Identifying and responding to the mental health service needs of children who have experienced violence: A community-based approach. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 8(2), 187–202.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Felitti, V. J. (2009). Adverse childhood experiences and adult health. Academic Pediatrics, 9(3), 131–132. doi:10.1016/j.acap.2009.03.001.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Spitz, A. M., Edwards, V., et al. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults: The adverse childhood experiences (ACE) study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ford, J. D., Racusin, R., Ellis, C. G., Daviss, W. B., Reiser, J., Fleischer, A., et al. (2000). Child maltreatment, other trauma exposure, and posttraumatic symptomatology among children with oppositional defiant and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. [Research Support, Non-US Gov’t]. Child Maltreatment, 5(3), 205–217.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ghosh-Ippen, C., Ford, J., Racusin, R., Acker, M., Bosquet, K., Rogers, C., et al. (2002). Traumatic events screening inventory—parent report revised. San Francisco, CA: The Child Trauma Research Project of the Early Trauma Network and The National Center for PTSD Dartmouth Child Trauma Research Group.Google Scholar
  28. Glaze, L. E., & Maruschak, L. M. (2008). Parents in prison and their minor children. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report.Google Scholar
  29. Johnston, D. (1992). Report no. 6: Children of offenders. Pasadena, CA: The Center for Children of Incarcerated parents.Google Scholar
  30. Kinner, S. A. (2007). Do paternal arrest and imprisonment lead to child behaviour problems and substance use? A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 48(11), 1148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kolko, D. J., Herschell, A. D., Costello, A. H., & Kolko, R. P. (2009). Child welfare recommendations to improve mental health services for children who have experienced abuse and neglect: a national perspective. [Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural]. Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research, 36(1), 50–62. doi:10.1007/s10488-008-0202-y.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kolko, D. J., Hurlburt, M. S., Zhang, J., Barth, R. P., Leslie, L. K., & Burns, B. J. (2010). Posttraumatic stress symptoms in children and adolescents referred for child welfare investigation. A national sample of in-home and out-of-home care. [Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural Research Support, U.S. Gov’t, Non-P.H.S.]. Child Maltreatment, 15(1), 48–63. doi:10.1177/1077559509337892.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Lieberman, A. F., & Knorr, K. (2007). The impact of trauma: A development framework for infancy and early childhood. Psychiatric Annals, 37, 416–422.Google Scholar
  34. Lundy, M., & Grossman, S. F. (2005). The mental health and service needs of young children exposed to domestic violence: Supportive data. Families in Society, 86, 17–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Marans, S., Adnopoz, J., Berkman, M., Esserman, D., MacDonald, D., Nagler, S., et al. (1995). The police-mental health partnership: A community-based response to urban violence. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  36. Marans, S., & Berkman, M. (2006). Police-mental health collaboration on behalf of children exposed to violence the Child Development- Community Policing program model. In A. Lightburn & P. Sessions (Eds.), Handbook of community-based clinical practice (pp. 426–439). Cary, NC: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Murray, J., & Farrington, D. P. (2005a). Parental imprisonment: Effects on boys’ internalizing problems through the life course. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46, 1269–1278.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Murray, J., & Farrington, D. P. (2005b). Parental imprisonment: Effects on boys’ antisocial behaviour and delinquency through the life-course. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 46(12), 1269.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Neville, K. R. (2009). Forgotten children: Law enforcement agencies, child protective services, and children of arrested parents in Michigan. McNair Scholars Research Journal, 2(1), Article 13.Google Scholar
  40. Nolan, C. M. (2003). Children of arrested parents: Strategies to improve their safety and well-being. Sacramento, CA: California Research Bureau, California State Library.Google Scholar
  41. Offord, D. R., Boyle, M. H., Racine, Y., Szatmari, P., et al. (1996). Integrating assessment data from multiple informants. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, 35(8), 1078–1085. doi:10.1097/00004583-199608000-00019.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Osofsky, J. D. (1999). The impact of violence on children. The Future of Children, 3, 33–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Perry, D. F., Kaufmann, R. K., & Knitzer, J. (2007). Social & emotional health in early childhood. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.Google Scholar
  44. Phillips, S. D., Burns, B. J., Wagner, H. R., & Barth, R. P. (2004). Parental arrest and children involved with child welfare services agencies. [Research Support, US Gov’t, P.H.S.]. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 74(2), 174–186. doi:10.1037/0002-9432.74.2.174.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Phillips, S. D., Burns, B. J., Wagner, H., Kramer, T. L., & Robbins, J. M. (2002). Parental incarceration among youth receiving mental health services. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 11(4), 385–399. doi:10.1023/A:1020975106679.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Phillips, S. D., & Erkanli, A. (2008). Differences in patterns of maternal arrest and the parent, family, and child problems encountered in working with families. Children and Youth Services Review, 30(2), 157–172. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2007.09.003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Phillips, S. D., Erkanli, A., Keeler, G., Costello, E. J., & Angold, A. (2006). Disentangling the risks: Parent criminal justice involvement and children’s exposure to family risks. Criminology & Public Policy, 5(4), 677–702.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Phillips, S. D., & Zhao, J. A. (2010). The relationship between witnessing arrests and elevated symptoms of posttraumatic stress: Findings from a national study of children involved in the child welfare system. Children and Youth Services Review, 32(10), 1246–1254. doi:10.1016/j.childyouth.2010.04.015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Puddefoot, G., & Foster, L. K. (2007). Keeping children safe when their parents are arrested: Local approaches that work. Sacramento, CA: California Research Bureau, California State Library.Google Scholar
  50. Pumariega, A. J., & Winters, N. C. (Eds.). (2003). The handbook of child and adolescent systems of care: The new community psychiatry. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.Google Scholar
  51. Sameroff, A. J. (2000). Dialectical processes in developmental psychopathology. In A. Sameroff, M. Lewis & S. Miller (Eds.), Handbook of developmental psychopathology (Vol. 2nd ed, pp. 23–40). New York, NY: Kluwer Academic/Plenum Publishers.Google Scholar
  52. Snyder, F., Roberts, Y. H., Crusto, C. A., Connell, C. M., Griffin, A., Finley, M. K., et al. (2012). Exposure to potentially traumatic events and the behavioral health of children enrolled in an early childhood system of care. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 25, 700–704.PubMedCentralPubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. SPSS Inc. (2010). SPSS base 19.0 for window’s user’s guide. Chicago, IL: SPSS, Inc.Google Scholar
  54. StataCorp. (2011). Stata statistical software: release 12. College Station, TX: StataCorp LP.Google Scholar
  55. Stroul, B. A., & Friedman, R. M. (1986). A system of care for seriously emotionally distrubed children and youth. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Child Development Center.Google Scholar
  56. Taylor, C. A., Guterman, N. B., Lee, S. J., & Rathouz, P. J. (2009). Intimate partner violence, maternal stress, nativity, and risk for maternal maltreatment of young children. American Journal of Public Health, 99(1), 175–183. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2007.126722.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Taylor, N., Wilson, C., & Igelman, R. (2006). In pursuit of a more trauma-informed child welfare system. APSAC Advisor, 18(2), 4–9.Google Scholar
  58. Wildeman, C. (2010). Paternal incarceration and children’s physically aggressive behaviors: Evidence from the fragile families and child wellbeing study. Social Forces, 89(1), 285–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Young, D. S., & Smith, C. J. (2000). When moms are incarcerated: The needs of children, mothers, and caregivers. Families in Society, 81(2), 130–141.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yvonne Humenay Roberts
    • 1
  • Frank J. Snyder
    • 1
  • Joy S. Kaufman
    • 1
  • Meghan K. Finley
    • 2
  • Amy Griffin
    • 2
  • Janet Anderson
    • 3
  • Tim Marshall
    • 4
  • Susan Radway
    • 5
  • Virginia Stack
    • 6
  • Cindy A. Crusto
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Prevention and Community ResearchYale School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.The Consultation CenterNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Rhode Island Department of Children and FamiliesProvidenceUSA
  4. 4.Connecticut Department of Children and FamiliesHartfordUSA
  5. 5.LEARN Regional Educational CenterOld LymeUSA
  6. 6.Paul V. Sherlock Center on DisabilitiesRhode Island CollegeProvidenceUSA

Personalised recommendations