Date of Award

5-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

International Family and Community Studies

Committee Member

Dr. Susan P. Limber, Committee Chair

Committee Member

Dr. James R. McDonell

Committee Member

Dr. Martie Thompson

Committee Member

Robin Kimbrough-Melton, JD

Committee Member

Dr. Patricia Motes

Abstract

This study examined the relationships among frequency of contact and visitation, the parent-child relationship, children's perspectives of contact and visitation, and social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Participants were 40 children of incarcerated parents, ages 9-18, and their caregivers. A series of multivariate regression analyses revealed that more frequent visitation was related to fewer child internalizing problems, and more frequent contact and visitation were related to stronger perceptions of trust and communication in the parent-child relationship. Additionally, fewer feelings of alienation in the parent-child relationship were associated with fewer internalizing and externalizing problems. Lastly, children's perspectives of contact and visitation were important predictors of frequency of contact and visitation and social, emotional, and behavioral problems. Although the small, convenience sample limits the reliability, validity, and generalizability of the findings, this study was innovative in its examination of a possible mediating role of the parent-child relationship in the relation between frequency of contact and visitation and social, emotional, and behavioral problems, and in measuring children's perspectives of contact and visitation. Practical implications and future research are discussed.

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