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N. 3 (2021)

Co-parenting in families with an imprisoned parent: A systematic review

2 November 2021


Objectives: We explored the literature to investigate the main results of research into the practice of co-parenting in families with an imprisoned parent.
Moreover, we aimed to point out the theoretical approaches used to analyze coparenting in the case of parental detention and the methods by which co-parenting is recognized and measured. Method: We used the EBSCO platform to explore the databases PsycINFO and Psychology and Behavioral Sciences Collection.
First, we researched parenting OR co-parenting AND (incarcerated mother OR incarcerated father); the next search was for family AND (incarceration OR prison OR jail). Then we searched for fathers OR mothers AND (incarceration OR prison OR jail), and the final search attempt was for wives OR partners OR husbands AND (incarceration OR prison OR jail). Results: After applying the inclusion and exclusion criteria, we selected 14 studies for this literature review.
Conclusions: The number of studies about co-parenting in families dealing with parental detention is limited. Most of what is known about the co-caregiving system or alliance and children’s adjustment has come from studies of families with young children. The methodological procedures used to explore the relationships between incarcerated parents, children, and home caregivers were individually focused. What emerged from this literature review is the need to recognize the triadic nature of family relationships and therefore the need to adopt procedures that would allow us to analyze the triadic processes characterizing a family system.

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