Incarceration of a Household Member and Hispanic Health Disparities: Childhood Exposure and Adult Chronic Disease Risk Behaviors
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Incarceration of a Household Member and Hispanic Health Disparities: Childhood Exposure and Adult Chronic Disease Risk Behaviors

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  • Alternative Title:
    Prev Chronic Dis
  • Description:

    Incarceration of a household member has been linked to poor mental and behavioral health outcomes in children, but less is known about the health behaviors of these children once they reach adulthood.


    We analyzed data from 81,910 respondents to the 2009–2010 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System to identify associations between the childhood experience of having a household member incarcerated and adult smoking status, weight status, physical activity, and drinking patterns. We used multivariable logistic regression to control for sex, age, education, and additional adverse childhood events in the whole population and in separate models for Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, and non-Hispanic black adults. We also assessed for having multiple risk behaviors.


    People who lived with an incarcerated household member during childhood were more likely as adults than those who did not to engage in smoking (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] 1.50; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.27–1.77) and heavy drinking (AOR 1.39; 95% CI, 1.03–1.87), after controlling for demographics and additional adverse childhood events. Exposure to incarceration in the household as a child among Hispanic adults was associated with being a smoker, being a heavy drinker, and having multiple risk behaviors and among white adults was associated with being a smoker and having multiple risk behaviors; among black adults there were no significant associations.


    Incarceration of a household member during childhood is associated with adult risk behaviors, and race/ethnicity may be a factor in this association.

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