Children of incarcerated parents are much more likely to suffer from behavior problems, including learning disabilities and developmental delays, compared to children who have lost parents due to other causes, like divorce or death.
According to the results of a new study, having at least one parent in prison, is linked to long-term negative health outcomes for children. Earlier studies have also pointed to a decline in physical and mental health, when children have at least one parent in prison. Now a new study seems to indicate that having a parent in prison, is also linked to chronic stress, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, and other behavioral problems in children. The study also linked parental incarceration to social problems, and developmental delays.
The researchers as part of their study analyzed the effect of parental incarceration on a number of issues, including activity limitations, long absences from school, depression, and obesity in children. They found that some of these factors were much more strongly linked to dental incarceration, than others.
For instance, they found that the largest number of children in the study, or nearly 16%, were impacted by obesity. They also suffered from learning disability, as well as ADHD and asthma. These children were also much more likely to suffer from stress, and the researchers have surmised from their findings that when incarcerated persons suffer stress, some of that stress does percolate down to their children.
According to the researchers, there are approximately 2 million adults currently incarcerated in the US. That means a substantially huge number of children who are being exposed to long term behavior problems by such incarceration.