Externalizing Behavior Among Youth With a Current or Formerly Incarcerated Parent

Ebony L. Ruhland, Laurel Davis, Julie Atella, Rebecca J. Shlafer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


This study examined associations between parental incarceration and youths’ externalizing behaviors (e.g., damage to property, fighting, theft, etc.). Data were drawn from the 2016 Minnesota Student Survey, a statewide sample of 126,868 youth in public schools. Logistic regression analyses examined associations between youths’ experience of parental incarceration and their self-reported externalizing behaviors, controlling for key demographic characteristics. Youth with a currently or formerly incarcerated parent reported significantly more externalizing behaviors compared with youth who never had a parent incarcerated. In addition, youth with a currently incarcerated parent reported significantly more externalizing behaviors than youth who had a formerly incarcerated parent in six out of the eight externalizing behaviors. However, youth who reported having a formerly incarcerated parent were more likely to report lying or conning and more likely to have difficulty paying attention than youth who currently had an incarcerated parent. Results illustrate that parental incarceration has important implications for youths’ own risk for delinquency and high-risk behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalInternational Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020



  • delinquency
  • externalizing behaviors
  • parental incarceration

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

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