SHSU Prof Receives Grant For Incarceration, Children’s Mental Health Study

By: Sam Houston State University Release Email
By: Sam Houston State University Release Email

HUNTSVILLE, WALKER COUNTY - Adam T. Schmidt, an assistant professor in the Sam Houston State University Department of Psychology and Philosophy, has received a $19,250 grant from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health to conduct a study that examines mental health symptoms and protective factors in children of incarcerated fathers.

Schmidt’s project was among nine selected from a pool of 51 applicants from universities across Texas. The foundation awarded the grants, totaling $173,250, to tenure-track assistant professors in Texas whose research will advance an overall understanding of mental health.

Research suggests that children of incarcerated parents are at an elevated risk for various mental health conditions including conduct problems, attention difficulties, depression, learning disabilities and substance use disorders.

Schmidt’s study will collect pilot data on a group of ultra-high-risk children who currently have a father incarcerated through the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The data will provide information on a variety of factors salient to these children’s outcomes, including various “protective” factors that may buffer against the significant risks they face.

“This grant from the Hogg Foundation is supporting research that will help us understand mental health and resilience in children whose fathers are incarcerated,” Schmidt said. “These insights will lead to interventions aimed at improving mental health and educational outcomes for these vulnerable children.”

In addition to increasing the pool of junior faculty doing quality mental health research, the Hogg grants also fund the disbursement of research findings through presentations at state and national conferences and meetings.

“Despite the significant vulnerability of the children of the incarcerated, strikingly few studies have investigated the development of these children in depth, a gap that Dr. Schmidt’s work addresses,” said Octavio N. Martinez Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and vice president for diversity and community engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. “This issue has particular relevance to minority mental health because minority children are at a disproportionately high risk of being exposed to parental incarceration.”

The Hogg Foundation advances recovery and wellness in Texas by funding mental health services, policy analysis, research and public education. The foundation was created in 1940 by the children of former Texas Gov. James S. Hogg and is part of the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin.

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