Kristin Turney

Associate Professor of Sociology, University of California, Irvine

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About Kristin

Turney's research investigates the complex and dynamic role of families in creating, maintaining and exacerbating social inequalities. Much of Turney's current research examines the consequences of criminal justice contact for family life. In this vein, she investigates the deleterious, beneficial, and inconsequential effects of criminal justice contact on the wellbeing of children and families over time, considers heterogeneity in the relationship between parental incarceration and family inequality, and evaluates the family, school and neighborhood mechanisms through which parental incarceration fosters resilience among children. 

In the News

Kristin Turney's research on the relation between criminal justice content and mental health discussed by "Beyond Incarceration: Criminal Justice Contact and Mental Health," American Sociological Review Podcast, August 1, 2017.
"Redefining Relationships: Explaining the Countervailing Consequences of Paternal Incarceration for Parenting," Kristin Turney, Interview with Sophia Puglesi, American Sociological Review Podcast, October 25, 2013.
"Despair by Association? The Mental Health of Mothers with Children by Recently Incarcerated Fathers," Kristin Turney (with Christopher Wildeman and Jason Schnittker), Interview with Lisa Hanson, American Sociological Review Podcast, February 27, 2012.


"Beyond Incarceration: Criminal Justice Contact and Mental Health" (with Naomi F. Sugie). American Sociological Review 82, no. 4 (2017): 719-743.

Examines criminal justice contact —defined as arrest, conviction, and incarceration— and mental health. Shows that arrest is deleteriously associated with mental health, and arrest accounts for nearly half of the association between incarceration and poor mental health. Indicates that criminal justice interactions exacerbate minority health inequalities.

"Stress Proliferations across Generations? Examining the Relationship between Parental Incarceration and Childhood Health" Journal of Health and Social Behavior 55, no. 3 (2014): 302-319.

Estimates the relationship between parental incarceration and children's fair or poor overall health, a range of physical and mental health conditions, activity limitations, and chronic school absence. Finds that parental incarceration is independently associated with learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, behavioral or conduct problems, developmental delays, and speech or language problems. Suggests that children's health disadvantages are an overlooked and unintended consequence of mass incarceration.

"The Unequal Consequences of Mass Incarceration for Children" Demography 54, no. 1 (2017): 361-389.

Estimates the heterogeneous relationship between paternal incarceration and children's problem behaviors and cognitive skills in middle childhood. Reveals that the consequences—across all outcomes except early juvenile delinquency— are more deleterious for children with relatively low risks of exposure to paternal incarceration than for children with relatively high risks of exposure to paternal incarceration. Suggest that the intergenerational consequences of paternal incarceration are more complicated than documented in previous research.

"Mental and Physical Health of Children in Foster Care" (with Christopher Wildeman). Pediatrics (2016).

Finds that children in foster care are in poor mental and physical health relative to children in the general population, children across specific family types, and children in economically disadvantaged families. Shows that children adopted from foster care, compared with children in foster care, have significantly higher odds of having some health problems. Concludes that children in foster care are a vulnerable population in poor health, partially as a result of their early life circumstances.

"Redefining Relationships: Explaining the Countervailing Consequences of Paternal Incarceration for Parenting" (with Christopher Wildeman). American Sociological Review 78, no. 6 (2013): 949-979.
Considers the countervailing consequences of paternal incarceration for a host of family relationships, including fathers’ parenting, mothers’ parenting, and the relationship between parents; finds recent paternal incarceration sharply diminishes parenting behaviors among residential but not nonresidential fathers.
"Maternal Depression and Childhood Health Inequalities" Journal of Health and Social Behavior 52, no. 3 (2011): 314-332.
Finds that maternal depression, particularly recurrent or chronic depression, puts children at risk of having unfavorable health when they are five years old. This finding persists despite adjusting for a host of demographic characteristics of the mothers and children (including children’s prior health) and is consistent across multiple health outcomes.