Abstract, Children’s Experiences During Simulated Visitation Experiences, Rita McInerny


Children of incarcerated parents are at higher risk for negative developmental outcomes than their peers, such as substance abuse, academic difficulty, and mental and physical health concerns (Poehlmann-Tynan et al., 2015). While previous research has shown that parent-child visits are a contributing factor to the well-being of children with incarcerated parents, the quality of these interactions are under-studied and therefore important to investigate so that the well-being of these children can be improved (Poehlmann-Tynan et al., 2015). This project aims to examine the impact that video calls have on the quality of parent-child interactions between mothers and children ages four to six, and how the quality of this interaction affects the child’s physiological, self-reported, and behavioral stress levels and attachment security. The data collection will include both qualitative and quantitative measures including self-report, observational and physiological data, and the coding of family drawings gathered from child participants. The goal of this proposed project is to add to the body of research about the under-studied experiences of children during parent-child visitation by simulating common visitation standards at correctional facilities that prohibit physical contact between mothers and children, and examining the subsequent effects on the child’s stress and attachment security to enhance the quality of these interactions and inform evidence-based standards of visitation.


  1. ejclinton says:

    This research seems not only crucial, as children of incarcerated parents should be given focus to ensure that they have the same academic and wellness opportunity as their peers, but as potential insight to more complex applications of attachment theory. While studies have shown that early bonding with one’s parent is vital in positive emotional development, I think that the dimension of a parent being removed from the home has equally strong implications for a young child’s development. I think your research will be very interesting, specifically to see if video calls can have as strong of an effect as in-person visitations for such a young child.