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This study examines the longitudinal effects of childhood community contexts on young adult outcomes. The study uses a sample of 14,000 adolescents (52% female) derived from the 1990 US Census and the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health (Addhealth). The study examines whether community and family environments exert separate and/or joint long-term influences on young adult achievement and depression. We found both direct and indirect long-term influences of childhood community adversity on young adult educational attainment. The indirect influences of childhood community adversity operated through family and individual-level factors. The long-term influence of childhood community adversity on young adult depression was only indirect. Overall, community influences on young adult achievement outcomes were mediated by family context and by the adolescents’ adjustments and transitions, including adolescent depression, school adjustment, and disruptive transitional events. The moderating effect of childhood community adversity suggests that the protective effects of family resources on young adult outcomes dissipate significantly in extremely adverse neighborhoods. The findings demonstrate the importance of integrating multiple theoretical perspectives for longitudinal research to capture pathways of community influence on adolescent developmental and young adulthood outcomes.
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- The Long Arm of Community: The Influence of Childhood Community Contexts Across the Early Life Course
K. A. S. Wickrama
- Springer US