In a study of children that had a family member or family associate incarcerated prior to their 18th birthday, Loper & Nichols (2012) attempted to address the impact that such incarceration had on such children. It was expected, consistent with previous literature, that household incarceration would have an impact on academic outcomes. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the relationship between household incarceration and two outcomes: failure to graduate high school and extended school absence. Loper and Nichols (2012) examined three factors:
1. If youth with incarcerated household members experienced more social and economic adversity and worse school outcomes than the rest of the sample.
2. Whether household member incarceration accounted for differences in school outcomes, above and beyond the measured economic adversities.
3. The influence of the specific relation (parent, sibling, other household member) of the prisoner on the youth’s school outcomes.
The research used for this study is from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, Child and Youth survey of 2010, which is current and relevant. It also is based on research conducted on the child instead of the parent. Current literature suggests that researchers move towards a child-centered perspective, as opposed to a parent-centered perspective. Focusing on the child, allows researchers to access the impact of parental incarceration on the child (Phillips, 2010). The significance of this study is articulated by the authors as giving directions for more specific interventions based on school experiences based on how these children differ from their peers.
Loper and Nichols (2012) identify several relevant theories surrounding their hypothesis. The first theory is from a developmental bioecological model. This theory stresses that influences in the home are directly related to an individual’s development (Brofenbrenner & Ceci, 1994). Furthermore, this influence is not only related to the parents’ influence, but is extended to other close relationship’s in the child’s household. Other theories that may explain how incarceration has an impact on children are strain, attachment, social control, and stigma.
Loper and Nichols hypothesized that household incarceration would have a great impact on academic outcomes of the children in the household.
There were several relevant variables used in this study. The control variables used were demographic, socioeconomic, and other adversity variables such as sex, ethnicity, poverty status, mother’s educational attainment, cognitive ability, and home environment quality. The dependent variables in this study were related to academic outcomes such as extended absences and failure to graduate from high school. The independent variables used were parental incarceration, sibling incarceration, and other household member’s incarceration (Loper and Nichols, 2012).
The study by Lopers and Nichols was a longitudinal, study...