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Parental legal system involvement linked to adverse child mental health

Parental legal system involvement linked to adverse child mental health

Parental legal system involvement may negatively impact child mental health, according to a study published online May 23 in Pediatrics.

Lilian G. Bravo, Ph.D., R.N., from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California in Los Angeles, and colleagues used two-year follow-up data from the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development Study when children were 11 to 12 years of age to examine whether adverse parental legal system involvement (incarceration, arrest) was associated with suicide risk.

Of the 10,532 children included in the study, 6.5 percent reported parent incarceration and 12.0 percent reported parent arrest. The researchers found that the most frequent risk outcome was suicidal ideation (4.7 percent). The relative risk for suicidal ideation was 1.74 for children whose parents had been incarcerated.

Children whose parents had been arrested had relative risks for suicidal ideation and suicide attempt of 1.89 and 2.69, respectively. There was no association observed for parental incarceration/arrest with nonsuicidal self-injury (NSSI).

There were associations seen for positive childhood experiences with a reduced relative risk for and NSSI; no significant association was seen for positive childhood experiences and adverse parent legal system involvement exposures.

"We urge policymakers to implement evidence-based interventions to mitigate the effects of parental legal involvement on among preadolescents," the authors write.

More information: Lilian G. Bravo et al, Parental Legal System Involvement, Positive Childhood Experiences, and Suicide Risk, Pediatrics (2024). DOI: 10.1542/peds.2023-062566

Journal information: Pediatrics

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Citation: Parental legal system involvement linked to adverse child mental health (2024, May 24) retrieved 17 June 2024 from
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