School-Based Outcomes Among Youth With Incarcerated Parents: Differences by School Setting

Rebecca J. Shlafer, Tyler Reedy, Laurel Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Parental incarceration impacts millions of children in the United States and has important consequences for youths' adjustment and school-based outcomes. METHODS: Using data from a survey of youth behavior in one large Midwestern state, we examined the effect of both present and past parental incarceration on school-based outcomes, across 3 school settings (public schools, alternative learning centers, and juvenile correctional facilities). RESULTS: Parental incarceration was significantly associated with students' poor school-based outcomes; however, these effects varied markedly by school setting. Among youth in public schools, parental incarceration was consistently associated with poor school outcomes. There were mixed effects among youth in alternative learning centers and no significant effects among youth in juvenile correctional facilities. CONCLUSIONS: The study adds to a body of literature demonstrating the negative effects of parental incarceration on youth's school-based outcomes for youth in public schools; however, findings were mixed for youth in alternative learning centers and juvenile correctional facilities. Implications for future research and school practitioners are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-695
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of School Health
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences of the National Institutes of Health Award Number UL1TR000114. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017, American School Health Association


  • parental incarceration
  • school outcomes
  • student engagement


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