'It'll always be a part of him but it's not going to define him': paternal incarceration and the academic lives of primary and pre-school children in Ireland – pathways to resilience or maladaptation?
Citation:RYAN-MANGAN, ASHLING, 'It'll always be a part of him but it's not going to define him': paternal incarceration and the academic lives of primary and pre-school children in Ireland – pathways to resilience or maladaptation? Trinity College Dublin.School of Education, 2019
FINAL THESIS JAN 2019.pdf (PhD Thesis, examined and approved) 3.117Mb
Despite a growing interest, both nationally and internationally, in the experiences of children with incarcerated parents, relatively little is known about these children’s academic lives. This research sets out to describe the experiences of a particular set of children in Ireland whose fathers are in prison, to examine (children’s and other stakeholders’) interpretations of such experiences and, finally, to explore and attempt to come to an understanding of how these experiences and interpretations can have impacts on children’s academic lives, if, indeed, they do at all. The term academic lives is defined here in terms of personal, social and academic characteristics. Adopting a multiple case study approach, the research considers the views of fathers in prison, mothers and carers ‘on the outside’, teachers of children whose fathers are incarcerated and other relevant professionals dealing with these children and families. Throughout, the research was guided by Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological/Bioecological Systems Theory and data were generated from interviews, observation and document analysis. Analysis of the data commenced with transcription and proceeded to incorporate elements of Miles and Huberman’s work (1994). Results indicate that there are seven primary mechanisms through which paternal incarceration has impacts on these children’s academic lives, namely: maternal coping and overall parenting skills; children’s emotional and behavioural reactions; the roles played by teachers (generally influenced by the quality of home-school links); the removal of fathers who conduct school-related tasks; children’s social interactions with friends and other peers; school-related attitudes and expectations/ambitions for the future; and interactions at more distal levels of Bronfenbrenner’s EST. Further, paternal incarceration is found typically to be experienced alongside a range of other forms of upheaval, it is routinely considered a negative event and prison visits are identified as one of the most challenging aspects of the experience, emotionally-speaking. As apparently the first Irish study to examine the issue of paternal incarceration from an educational perspective, and one of only a small number to have examined the issue more generally, the research findings draw attention to the specific challenges faced by children of imprisoned fathers and indicate multiple ways in which support might be applied, at least in the Irish context, when attempting to minimise the risks posed by paternal incarceration. Such support, ultimately, has the potential to influence the academic lives and, thus, future trajectories of these children.
Author: RYAN-MANGAN, ASHLING
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Education. Discipline of Education
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available