Bradley A. White
Men who reported experiencing family member incarceration during childhood were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes during adulthood compared with men who did not report a family incarceration history, according to findings published in SAGE Open Medicine.
“Previous studies have found that the incarceration of a parent plays havoc with the stability of housing, employment and parental marital relationships,” Bradley A. White, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist, associate professor of psychology, and core faculty member at the Center for Youth Development and Intervention at the University of Alabama, said in a press release. “It has also been associated with psychosocial maladjustment and mental disorders in children and often leads to considerable social and familial stigma. Less attention has been paid to the long-term physical health outcomes of the children as they grow up.”
White and colleagues analyzed data from a community sample of 8,790 adults aged at least 40 years (14,255 women) using data from the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2012 optional adverse childhood experiences module to investigate the association between family member incarceration during childhood and diabetes. The module was answered by respondents in five states: Iowa (56.8%), Tennessee (45.4%), North Carolina (40.4%), Oklahoma (47.8%), and Wisconsin (50.4%). Respondents with an incarcerated family member before age 18 years were identified through a response of “once” or “more than once” to the question “Did you live with anyone who served time or was sentenced to serve time in a prison, jail or other correctional facility?” Researchers used logistic regression analyses stratified by sex using distinct clusters of variables, such as socioeconomic status and health behaviors.
Within the cohort, 16.6% of men and 13.8% of women had diabetes. Among men, those with diabetes were more likely to report family member incarceration during childhood vs. those without diabetes (7.9% vs. 4.8%; P < .001). Odds of diabetes among those exposed to family member incarceration during childhood for men were 1.64 (95% CI, 1.27-2.11). There was no significant association observed for women.
Men who reported experiencing family member incarceration during childhood were more likely to develop type 2 diabetes during adulthood compared with men who did not report a family incarceration history.
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“Prior evidence suggests men may be more vulnerable biologically to early adversities than women and experience stress-related testosterone suppression, which is linked to insulin resistance,” White said in the release. “In addition, incarceration also frequently interferes with fathers’ contact with children, which may particularly impact their sons’ abilities to cope with stress. Boys and men are also less likely than girls and women to seek psychosocial support in response to adverse events.”
The researchers also adjusted for six other forms of childhood traumas in the analysis, in addition to most of the known risk factors for diabetes, such as obesity and smoking. The six forms of trauma included sexual, physical and verbal abuse along with parental addictions, parental mental illness and parental domestic violence. – by Regina Schaffer
Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.