Children's Delinquency After Paternal Incarceration
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This dissertation seeks to build on the growing research literature concerning the intergenerational consequences of paternal imprisonment for their children. The existing literature has explored the cumulative process of disadvantage that can result in negative outcomes for these children. However, there is little evidence of the mechanisms by which this occurs. This dissertation explores the possibility of the mediators outlined by Kaplan’s (1986) self-referent theory and Giordano’s (2010) symbolic interactionsist approach by which the intergenerational transmission of delinquency occurs using a unique dataset with information collected from multiple generations. This longitudinal dataset compiles information from 2,722 adolescents aged 11-18 that report their race, gender, level of self-esteem, parental relations, parental deviant behavior/characteristics, and peers and teacher stigmatization. The dataset also contains information on their fathers, 4,212 of the first generation participants, who report the frequency and causes of their own incarceration. Various models were estimated to test whether the association between paternal incarceration and delinquency was significant, the mediating effects of negative self-feelings, agency, identity, and emotion, and the moderating effect of both race and gender. The results indicate that the association between paternal incarceration and delinquency is significant. The relationship is mediated by negative self-feelings, identity, and anger. Race did not moderate the relationship but gender did. These findings were independent of a litany of individual, family, and structural factors. The implications and significance of these findings are discussed.
Mathis, Carlton William (2013). Children's Delinquency After Paternal Incarceration. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from