Parental Offending and Child Physical Health, Mental Health, and Drug Use Outcomes: A Systematic Literature Review
A growing body of evidence suggests that parental offending may be linked to poor physical health, mental health, and drug use problems in offspring. However, previous systematic reviews have limited their scope to the association between parental incarceration and child substance use and mental health problems. We extend this research by conducting a systematic literature review on the impact of any parental offending, more broadly, on child physical and mental health outcomes, including drug use problems.
We searched relevant electronic databases and the reference lists of previous reviews for research examining the relationship between parental offending, excluding studies focused on incarceration alone, and health outcomes in offspring less than 18 years of age. Our search identified 1279 unique studies, 19 of which met the criteria for inclusion.
Across this literature, associations were found between parental offending and poor physical health outcomes in young children and, more robustly, drug use in adolescence. The associations between parental offending and child health outcomes, particularly for child mental health, were found to be at least partially explained by other factors, such as child maltreatment and abuse. However, owing to methodological limitations, conclusions regarding the causal impact of parental offending on child health could not be confidently made.
Parental offending may be useful marker for identifying children at risk of poor health outcomes who may benefit from intervention.
KeywordsParental offending Child physical health Child mental health Child drug use Systematic literature review
TW contributed to the design of the study, conducted the literature search and study selection, performed the data extraction, quality assessment, and drafted the manuscript. MB contributed to literature search and study selection, and the drafting and editing of the final manuscript. ST contributed to the design of the study, study selection, and the drafting and editing of the final manuscript. KD contributed to the design of the study, and the drafting and editing of the final manuscript.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- References marked with an asterisk indicate studies included in the systematic literature review.Google Scholar
- Achenbach, T. (1992). Manual for the Child Behavior Checklist/2-3 and 1992 profile. Department of Psychiatry, University of Vermont.Google Scholar
- *Coley, R. L., Carrano, J., & Lewin-Bizan, S. (2011). Unpacking links between fathers’ antisocial behaviors and children’s behavior problems: direct, indirect, and interactive effects. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39(6), 791–804. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-011-9496-4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Farrington, D. P., Piquero, A. R., & Jennings, W. G. (2013). Offending from childhood to late middle age: recent results from the Cambridge Study in Delinquent Development. New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
- *Keller, T. E., Catalano, R. F., Haggerty, K. P., & Fleming, C. B. (2002). Parent figure transitions and delinquency and drug use among early adolescent children of substance abusers. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 28(3), 399–427. https://doi.org/10.1081/ADA-120006734.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Kim, H., Capaldi, D. M., Pears, K. C., Kerr, D. C. R., & Owen, L. D. (2009). Intergenerational transmission of internalizing and externalizing behaviours across three generations: gender-specific pathways. Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, 19(2), 125–141. https://doi.org/10.1002/cbm.708.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Kinner, S. A., Alati, R., Najman, J. M., & Williams, G. M. (2007). Do paternal arrest and imprisonment lead to child behaviour problems and substance use? A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 48(11), 1148–1156. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1469-7610.2007.01785.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Laurens, K. R., Tzoumakis, S., Kariuki, M., Green, M. J., Hamde, M., Harris, F., Carr, V. J., & Dean, K. (2017). Pervasive influence of maternal and paternal criminal offending on early childhood development: a population data linkage study. Psychological Medicine, 47(5), 889–901. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0033291716003007.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Miller, K. M., Orellana, E. R., Johnson, A. B., Krase, K., & Anderson-Nathe, B. (2013). Maternal criminal justice and child welfare involvement: associations between risk exposures and childhood mental health. Social Work Research, 37(4), 402–413. https://doi.org/10.1093/swr/svt036.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Murray, J., Farrington, D. P., & Sekol, I. (2012). Children’s antisocial behavior, mental health, drug use, and educational performance after parental incarceration: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 138(2), 175–210. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0026407.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *O’Callaghan, F. V., O’Callaghan, M. O., Najman, J. M., Williams, G. M., Bor, W., & Alati, R. (2006). Prediction of adolescent smoking from family and social risk factors at 5 years, and maternal smoking in pregnancy and at 5 and 14 years. Addiction, 101(2), 282–290. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1360-0443.2006.01323.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Roberts, Y. H., Snyder, F. J., Kaufman, J. S., Finley, M. K., Griffin, A., Anderson, J., Marshall, T., Radway, S., Stack, V., & Crusto, C. A. (2014). Children exposed to the arrest of a family member: associations with mental health. Journal of Child and Family Studies, 23(2), 214–224. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10826-013-9717-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Shaw, D. S., Winslow, E. B., Owens, E. B., & Hood, N. (1998). Young children’s adjustment to chronic family adversity: a longitudinal study of low-income families. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 37(5), 545–553. https://doi.org/10.1097/00004583-199805000-00017.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- *Shlafer, R. J., Poehlmann, J., & Donelan-McCall, N. (2012). Maternal jail time, conviction, and arrest as predictors of children’s 15-year antisocial outcomes in the context of a nurse home visiting program. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology, 41(1), 38–52. https://doi.org/10.1080/15374416.2012.632345.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Tzoumakis, S., Dean, K., Green, M. J., Zheng, C., Kariuki, M., Harris, F., Carr, V. J., & Laurens, K.R. (2017). The impact of parental offending on offspring aggression in early childhood: a population-based record linkage study. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemioly, 52(4), 445–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar