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Mother–child interaction: a qualitative investigation of imprisoned mothers


In many countries, babies born to women in prison stay in prison with their mother and very young children may accompany their mothers in prison. Among these countries, Iran is one of those we do not have enough information about its prisoners especially mothers who have child(ren). This study aims to investigate imprisoned mother–child interaction by a qualitative method, Grounded Theory, in Iran. Two main questions of this research are: how is the interaction of mother–child in prison? What are the consequences of this interaction? Participants of this study comprised of 14 imprisoned mothers who were on leave, Iran. Being a mother and living with a child was the criterion of selecting the participants. All of the participants were in a separated unit. Data analysis yielded six categories and a core category. The categories are: “child as an emotional support of the mother; child as centre, prison as periphery; hope and will to favored future; mother unit as a family; rehabilitation; the other side of the coin: perceived risk for children.” Core category of the study is “imprisoned mother–child interactions: learning to live by hope and fear.”

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  1. Name of the prison has been omitted because of the participants’ request and anonymity of their identity.

  2. Raha means free in Persian language.

  3. Article 27 CRC: States Parties recognize the right of every child to a standard of living adequate for the child’s physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.

  4. Sigheh is a short-term marriage in Islam that a couple agrees to marry for a distinct time. This is a real marriage with a contract defining the conditions and amount of money paid to the wife for a specific duration.


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Correspondence to Dariush Boostani.

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Rahimipour Anaraki, N., Boostani, D. Mother–child interaction: a qualitative investigation of imprisoned mothers. Qual Quant 48, 2447–2461 (2014).

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