Mothering While Imprisoned: The Effects of Family and Child Dynamics on Mothering Attitudes

Ebonie Cunningham Stringer, Sandra L. Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Since the early 1990s, the number of children with imprisoned mothers has increased 131%. A mother's imprisonment potentially exposes children to a concentrated disadvantage that undermines their cognitive, emotional, and intellectual abilities. Additionally, such experiences can have deleterious effects on mother-child relationships, stand-in caregivers, foster care caseloads, the penal system, and society. Less may be understood, however, about how imprisonment affects the ways in which women view themselves as mothers. This study examines mothering attitudes for a sample of 210 Black, White, and Hispanic imprisoned mothers. Nested modeling results suggest a positive relationship between favorable views about mothering and children's profiles and mothers' expectations about future custody. Regular contact with their children through letter writing and telephone calls foster the most favorable views.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-326
Number of pages14
JournalFamily Relations
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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