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17-08-2020 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 10/2020

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 10/2020

Long-term Neighborhood Effects on Adolescent Outcomes: Mediated through Adverse Childhood Experiences and Parenting Stress

Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 10/2020
Dan Wang, Jeong-Kyun Choi, Jiwon Shin
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Past research suggests that neighborhood structural and social environments are important contextual factors associated with children’s development; however, investigations of the long-term effects of neighborhood environments in early childhood on subsequent adolescents’ social and behavioral outcomes remain limited. Further, it is unclear whether and how the home environment as a mediating mechanism links neighborhood conditions and adolescents’ outcomes. Using national surveys from multi-stressed families and census datasets, the present study aims to examine the longitudinal associations between neighborhood concentrated poverty and collective efficacy, mothers’ parenting stress, exposure to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), and later adolescent outcomes. Participants included 4898 children (52% boys) and their mothers (48% black, 25 years of age, on average, 64% living in poverty); children born in unmarried families (75% unmarried) were oversampled. The results suggest that neighborhood collective efficacy is associated directly and indirectly (via parenting stress and ACEs) with adolescents’ behavior problems and social skills, and indirectly with their delinquency. Neighborhood concentrated poverty was indirectly related to adolescents’ behavior problems, delinquency, and social skills transmitted through collective efficacy and family processes. Both mothers’ parenting stress and exposure to ACEs were identified as significant mediators. This study highlights the importance of early intervention for high-risk children, programs to build community resilience and reinforce social support for vulnerable families, and policy efforts to create safe and nurturing relationships and environments.

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