Graduate Theses & Dissertations

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Children of incarcerated parents are an understudied at-risk population. However, this thesis was designed to advance our understanding of the effects of parental incarceration and factors that may influence the impact. Using quantitative methods, possible moderating roles of gender, number of incarcerated parents, and contact frequency on the associations between attachment representations and problem behaviours were investigated in two samples. Results revealed that the number of incarcerated parents and contact frequency with incarcerated parents moderated the associations between attachment and externalizing behaviours. Furthermore, after controlling for several factors (e.g., gender, number of incarcerated parents, and contact) higher scores on secure parental attachment representations were consistently negatively associated with internalizing symptoms and externalizing behaviours. The discussion of findings highlight the utility of attachment theory in conceptualizing the impact of parental incarceration and the importance of fostering attachment security to promote positive mental health and behavioural outcomes for children of incarcerated parents. Author Keywords: attachment, internalizing symptoms, parental incarceration, problem behaviours

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