Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Higher Risk of Mental, Physical Illness Found in Kids With Jailed Parent

Children with a parent who has spent time in jail or prison have significantly increased risks of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety, high cholesterol, asthma, migraines, HIV/AIDS, and fair or poor health in general, according to a study by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published online March 18 in Pediatrics. Rosalyn Lee, Ph.D., M.P.H., and colleagues used data collected in 1994 and 1995 (when the children were about age 16 on average) and in 2007 and 2008 (when they were about age 28) as part of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. The 2.3 million U.S. inmates are parents to 1.7 million children under age 18.

These findings "suggest the need for additional research on mechanisms linking [parental incarceration] to both physical and mental health outcomes to identify whether [parental incarceration] is linked to childhood adversity and violence-related factors,” concluded Lee and colleagues.

Psychiatrists and other researchers have for several years focused attention ways to prevent mental illness. For more in Psychiatric News about preventing mental illness, click here.

(Image: Willee Cole /


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