Families, Relationships and Societies
This article investigates children's contact with their imprisoned fathers and the influence on their relationships following release. It is based on data from a mixed-methods prospective longitudinal study of 45 children (aged four to 18) in England whose fathers had played an active role in their lives prior to the prison sentence. The study found that face-to-face contact and telephone calls correlated significantly with the father–child relationship after the father's release, as reported by both parents. Written contact played less of a role. The longitudinal correlations remained significant after controlling for the level of the father's involvement with his children before imprisonment. The quantitative findings were supported by qualitative data from the children, fathers and mothers, which illustrated how contact supported the father–child relationship through the facilitation of familiar interactions (physical comfort, emotional support, discipline, guidance) even if in a limited and altered form. (Author abstract)
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