Stress, worry, and health problems experienced by Black and Indigenous caregivers of girls with juvenile legal system involvement

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Caregiver-child relationships are essential in preventing or reducing delinquent and illegal adolescent behaviors. Such relationships are particularly important for Black and Indigenous families, who are at disproportionate risk for involvement in the juvenile legal system due to structural racism. Research demonstrates substantial harm associated with being the child of an incarcerated caregiver – but what about caregivers of youth in the juvenile legal system? This study was the first to evaluate associations between daughter's juvenile legal system involvement and caregiver mental and physical health problems. Surveys were conducted with 183 Black and Indigenous caregivers of adolescent girls with juvenile legal system involvement (from arrest to incarceration). Results demonstrated caregiver mental health and physical health were significantly impacted by parental stress and stressors specific to having an adolescent daughter with juvenile legal system involvement. Mental health problems were significantly associated with worry about daughter's delinquent behaviors such as risky sexual behavior and fighting. Specific problems due to having a daughter with juvenile legal system involvement were evaluated; feeling depressed (91% of the sample) and feeling guilty (86% of the sample) were the most frequently reported. Feeling worried about daughter's juvenile legal system involvement was 5.1 times more likely among female as compared to male caregivers and 4.3 times more likely among single as compared to partnered caregivers. Unique stressors associated with daughter's juvenile legal system involvement are highlighted in this study, as are self-reported health effects of such experiences for caregivers. Family-focused approaches to prevent girls’ juvenile legal system involvement and respond to their involvement are indicated and should be prioritized in treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106529
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Volume138
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2022

Keywords

  • Family
  • Juvenile justice
  • Parent
  • Well-being
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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