Parental Incarceration and the Transition to Adulthood

Kristin Turney, Yader R. Lanuza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The growing literature on the intergenerational consequences of incarceration generally neglects to consider how paternal and maternal incarceration structures offspring's transition to adulthood, a fundamental life course stage that has become increasingly unequal. In this article, the authors use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to explore the relationship between parental incarceration and both subjective (e.g., respondent feels older compared to others his or her age) and behavioral (e.g., respondent is a parent) indicators of adulthood transitions among respondents younger than age 24 (N = 10,937). The results suggest that both paternal and maternal incarceration is positively associated with the number of subjective and behavioral adulthood transitions. The results also suggest that parental incarceration is associated with some individual indicators, especially subjective indicators, of adulthood. Taken together, these findings highlight that the high incarceration rate in the United States has transformative intergenerational consequences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1314-1330
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2017


  • National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health
  • family stress or crisis
  • incarcerated parents
  • life course theory
  • transition to adulthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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