Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Fathers behind bars: Predictors of the maintenance of family ties during incarceration

Corinne N Ortega, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This study explored the relationship between attachment, social isolation, perception of parenting competence and child contact among a sample of 94 fathers, incarcerated in State of Nebraska Correctional Services. Using subscales from the Family Environment Scale (FES) and the Parenting Stress Index (PSI), data on the levels of family cohesion prior to imprisonment and the various parenting variables are compared to established clinically significant cut points. Results indicate that incarcerated fathers in this sample report “average” levels of pre-incarceration family cohesion and that levels of attachment, social isolation and parenting competence were not clinically elevated. In subsequent analyses, multiple regression was used to test five theoretically-derived hypotheses that link various indicators of parental stress and competence to contact with children during incarceration. Although the null hypotheses were retained, results of this study suggest that while the underlying psychological processes of attachment, parenting competency and social isolation among incarcerated fathers operate as they do among the general population. It seems likely that under circumstances where frequency of contact with family members is controlled by external factors, paternal psychological commitment to maintaining family roles are simply overridden factors. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Sociology, Criminology and Penology

Recommended Citation

Ortega, Corinne N, "Fathers behind bars: Predictors of the maintenance of family ties during incarceration" (2004). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3126959.