The Health Consequences of Incarceration for Families

Authored by: Kristin Turney , Martha Morales Hernandez

Routledge International Handbook of Delinquency and Health

Print publication date:  August  2019
Online publication date:  August  2019

Print ISBN: 9780367256920
eBook ISBN: 9780429289194
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter, we review research examining the mental and physical health consequences of family member incarceration. We provide an overview of the stress process perspective, a theoretical paradigm useful for understanding the relationship between family member incarceration and health. We conceptualize incarceration as a stressor, one that is concentrated among people of color and the poor, that can have deleterious consequences both for the health of those exposed to the stressor and for the health of those connected to them via family ties (including romantic partners, children, and other family members). Additionally, we review empirical findings linking incarceration to mental and physical health, focusing our attention on how the stressor of incarceration can proliferate across family members to impair health.

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