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01-02-2011 | Original Paper | Uitgave 1/2011

Journal of Child and Family Studies 1/2011

Improving the Emotional Adjustment and Communication Patterns of Incarcerated Mothers: Effectiveness of a Prison Parenting Intervention

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 1/2011
Ann Booker Loper, Elena Hontoria Tuerk


Incarcerated mothers at a state prison participated in an eight-session parenting class designed to help them manage the stress of separation from children and to improve communication patterns with children and home-caregivers. In comparison to a waitlist control group (n = 46), inmates who received immediate intervention (n = 60) experienced less parenting distress regarding upcoming visitation experiences; however, waitlist and immediate treatment groups did not differ on other intervention measures. Additional analyses contrasted pre- and post-intervention differences on adjustment measures for inmates from either treatment condition who completed the parenting program (N = 90). After intervention, mothers reported reduced parenting stress, improved alliance with home caregivers, increased letter-writing, and reduction of mental distress symptoms. Large drop-out rates in both subgroups may have reduced the benefits of the random assignment used to form groups. Results support the value of interventions for incarcerated mothers that focus on ways to manage the emotional distress and poor communication patterns associated with being a parent in prison.

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