We are currently funded by NIMHD (R01MD014020) to study the consequences of parents? incarceration for their children. In this competitive revision, we request funds to add an interview module to study the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic in our high-risk, underserved, racially/ethnically diverse sample of people who have been incarcerated (G1) and their children (G2); 68% of our participants are African American, and 25% are Hispanic. The parents (G1) are the original participants of the Northwestern Juvenile Project (NJP), begun in the late 1990s. The NJP is the only large-scale longitudinal study of mental health needs and outcomes of youth after detention. We collected detailed data on the parents ? including information on incarceration, mental health, substance abuse, employment, and housing ? from adolescence (ages 10?18) through a median age of 32. Although all G1 were detained at least once during adolescence, they are diverse in their subsequent patterns of incarceration: 35% have not been incarcerated since adolescence, 25% have been incarcerated in jail only, and 40% have been incarcerated in both jail and prison. The proposed competitive revision will leverage data already collected on 466 parents, since 1995, as part of the NJP (4,500 interviews, up to 14 interviews per person), as well as data currently being collected in R01MD014020 on parents, a focal child (aged 10?17 years), and caretakers. The new interview module will allow us to pursue the following aims:
Aim 1, Consequences: To identify the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated containment and mitigation strategies. We will assess changes in (a) Familial, social, and financial well-being: work and income; food and financial insecurity; living arrangements; changes in children?s education and childcare; and shifting responsibilities of parents and children, and (b) Health and behavioral problems: COVID-19 infection, parental substance abuse, child behavior problems, and family functioning (shared activities, conflict, relationship instability). Most importantly, we will assess how these consequences vary by race/ethnicity, recency of incarceration, and the severity of the offense(s) that precipitated incarceration (misdemeanor or felony).
Aim 2, Resilience: Incorporating extensive data on resilience measured in R01MD014020, we will determine which variables reduce the negative consequences of the pandemic (identified in Aim 1). We will focus on malleable protective factors, including social support, receipt of cash benefits and in-kind benefits, neighborhood environment (assessed via self-report and geocoding, e.g., population density, neighborhood cohesion, neighborhood violence, neighborhood income level) and personal attitudes and behaviors around mitigation strategies. Identifying how vulnerable families are impacted by and cope with COVID-19 will better prepare our country?s health, economic, and social service systems to support them now and in the future. This application responds to (1) NOT-MD-20-019, Competitive and Administrative Supplements for the Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on Minority Health and Health Disparities; (2) the goal of Healthy People 2030 to promote health equity and eliminate health disparities; and (3) the Strategic Plan of NIMHD to reduce health disparities and improve minority health.

Public Health Relevance

Poor persons ? especially those who are racial/ethnic minorities ? are likely to suffer disproportionately from the COVID-19 pandemic, the associated containment and mitigation strategies, and unfolding economic recession. We will study a particularly vulnerable population: families in which a parent has been incarcerated. We will study the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic; assess how the consequences vary by race/ethnicity, recency of incarceration, and the severity of the offense(s) that precipitated incarceration (misdemeanor or felony); and determine the variables that increase the families? resilience to negative outcomes.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Research Project (R01)
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Jones, Nancy Lynne
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Northwestern University at Chicago
Schools of Medicine
United States
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