The research, titled “Despair by Association? The Mental Health of Mothers with Children by Recently Incarcerated Fathers,” appeared in February in the online American Sociological Review. Co-authors of the paper were Jason Schnittker of the University of Pennsylvania and Kirstin Turney of the University of California, Irvine. “When we think about the men who spend time behind bars, a whole host of images spring to mind, few of which are positive, and almost none of which involve their families,” notes Wildeman. “And when their families do come to mind, moreover, the images are almost uniformly negative: a mother disappointed in her wayward son; a lover relieved to be rid a partner who has long struggled with addiction and been prone to violence; a daughter who learned of her father’s incarceration weeks after the fact because the ties between them have grown weak as his broken promises mount.”

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