U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Children of Incarcerated Parents: Developmental Trajectories of Externalizing Behavior Across Adolescence.

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice and Behavior Volume: 45 Issue: 11 Dated: 2018 Pages: 1742-1761
Jean Kjellstrand; Gary Yubj; Mark Eddy; Charles R. Martinez Jr.
Date Published
20 pages
This study used growth mixture modeling to identify distinct trajectories of externalizing behavior for youth (N - 647) across the period 10 to 16 years of age.
Four trajectory classes were identified: Low-Stable, Mid-Increasing, Borderline-Stable, and Chronic-High. Relations of the identified trajectories with parental incarceration, parent-child relationships, trauma, and parenting, as well as future substance use and criminality were then examined. Children of incarcerated parents were underrepresented in the Low-Stable trajectory and overrepresented in the Mid-Increasing group; however, nearly 60 percent of the children of incarcerated parents were best represented by the low-risk trajectory. The trajectory classes differed significantly on many of the preadolescent measures, such as parent-child relationships and trauma, as well as on adolescent delinquency, adult criminality, and substance use. The Mid-Increasing, Borderline-Stable, and Chronic-High trajectory groups showed significantly higher levels of early risk factors and problematic outcomes than the Low-Stable trajectory group. Implications for practice are discussed. (publisher abstract modified)