Paternal incarceration and the housing security of urban mothers

Amanda Geller, Allyson Walker Franklin

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61 Scopus citations


High rates of imprisonment among American fathers have motivated an ongoing examination of incarceration's role in family life. A growing literature suggests that incarceration creates material and socioemotional challenges not only for prisoners and former prisoners but also for their families and communities. The authors examined the relationship between fathers' incarceration and one such challenge: the housing insecurity of the mothers of their children. Using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (N=4,125) and a series of longitudinal regression models, they found that mothers' housing security was compromised following their partners' incarceration, an association likely driven in part, but not entirely, by financial challenges following his time in prison or jail. Given the importance of stable housing for the continuity of adult employment, children's schooling, and other inputs to healthy child development, the findings suggest a grave threat to the well-being of children with incarcerated fathers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)411-427
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Marriage and Family
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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