Impact of Maternal Incarceration on the Criminal Justice Involvement of Adult Offspring: A Research Note

Lisa R. Muftić, Leana A. Bouffard, Gaylene S. Armstrong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Scopus citations


Objectives: This note examines the relationship between maternal incarceration and adverse outcomes for offspring in early adulthood. Methods: Utilizing data derived from the National Longitudinal Survey of Adolescent Health, a series of multivariate models are conducted to examine the impact maternal incarceration has on criminal justice involvement among young adults. To control for selection effects that may be associated with maternal imprisonment, propensity score matching is utilized. Results: Respondents whose mothers had served time in prison were significantly more likely to have an adult arrest, conviction, and incarceration, even after controlling for important demographic factors and correlates of criminal behavior. This effect persisted following matching. Conclusions: Maternal incarceration had a substantial effect on the offspring’s adult involvement in the criminal justice system. These findings bolster contentions regarding the unintended consequences of maternal incarceration that include long-term collateral damage to their children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-111
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016



  • Add Health
  • PSM
  • collateral consequences
  • maternal incarceration
  • propensity score matching

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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