Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




This bundled dissertation sought to advance research about children in the contexts of foster care and/or parental incarceration. The first study, “Developmental Differences in Children's Visits with Their Parents in Jail,” expanded upon previous research of young children's experiences visiting jail by including a sample of 3-17-year-olds. The study described children's visitation through quantitative (measured by the Jail-Prison Observation Checklist) and qualitative (themes gleaned from observations of children's visits with parents in jail) analyses with an ecological systems framework. The second longitudinal study, “Visits with Fathers Involved in the Criminal Justice System and Behavioral Outcomes among Children in Foster Care,” considered individual (i.e., race, gender, emotional and behavioral adjustment) and microsystem factors (i.e., visitation with parents who are incarcerated) to inform recommendations for correctional systems and policymakers in the exosystems, macrosystems, and chronosystems. Finally, few studies consider greater ecological systems and the well-being of children in foster care. As such, the third study, titled "Ecological Disruptions and Well-being among Children in Foster Care," examined the impact of multiple ecological disruptions (i.e., changes in or separation from siblings, friends, school, church, community) on children's internalizing symptoms and externalizing behaviors over time. The combination of these three studies increases understanding about the complex, interactive factors that impact the well-being of children in the contexts of child welfare and/or parental incarceration.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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