Self-Reported Health among Recently Incarcerated Mothers
Objectives. We examined self-reported health among formerly incarcerated mothers. Methods. We used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (n = 4096), a longitudinal survey of mostly unmarried parents in urban areas, to estimate the association between recent incarceration (measured as any incarceration in the past 4 years) and 5 self-reported health conditions (depression, illicit drug use, heavy drinking, fair or poor health, and health limitations), net of covariates including health before incarceration. Results. In adjusted logistic regression models, recently incarcerated mothers, compared with their counterparts, have an increased likelihood of depression (odds ratio [OR] = 1.60; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.18, 2.17), heavy drinking (OR = 1.79; 95% CI = 1.19, 2.68), fair or poor health (OR = 1.49; 95% CI = 1.08, 2.06), and health limitations (OR = 1.78; 95% CI = 1.27, 2.50). This association is similar across racial/ethnic subgroups and is larger among mothers who share children with fathers who have not been recently incarcerated. Conclusions. Recently incarcerated mothers struggle with even more health conditions than expected given the disadvantages they experience before incarceration. Furthermore, because incarceration is concentrated among those who are most disadvantaged, incarceration may increase inequalities in population health.
Turney, Kristin, and Christopher Wildeman. 2015. “Self-Reported Health among Recently Incarcerated Mothers.” American Journal of Public Health 105:2014–2020.