Advertisement

Journal of Youth and Adolescence

, Volume 41, Issue 12, pp 1613–1627 | Cite as

Social Competence in Late Elementary School: Relationships to Parenting and Neighborhood Context

  • Margaret O’Brien Caughy
  • Luisa Franzini
  • Michael Windle
  • Patricia Dittus
  • Paula Cuccaro
  • Marc N. Elliott
  • Mark A. Schuster
Empirical Research

Abstract

Despite evidence that neighborhoods confer both risk and resilience for youth development, the existing neighborhood research has a number of methodological limitations including lack of diversity in neighborhoods sampled and neighborhood characteristics assessed. The purpose of this study was to address these methodological limitations of existing research and to examine the relationship of neighborhood structural and social characteristics to family-level social processes and teacher-reported social competence during early adolescence. The study sample of 3,624 fifth graders (51 % girls) was ethnically diverse, including roughly even proportions of non-Hispanic White, non-Hispanic Black, and Hispanic youth. Neighborhood measures included economic disadvantage derived from the U.S. Census, physical and social disorder obtained by direct observation, and social capital from parental reports. Family-level social processes included parent reported family cohesion and youth reported maternal and paternal nurturance. We found that neighborhood factors significantly associated with youth social aggression and social competence but not social withdrawal, after controlling for individual demographic characteristics and parenting factors. There was limited evidence of moderation of family influences by neighborhood characteristics as well as the moderation of neighborhood effects by children’s gender. Neighborhood physical disorder was associated with increased social aggression among boys but with increased social withdrawal among girls. Implications of the study’s findings for research on neighborhoods and adolescent development and the development of preventive interventions are discussed.

Keywords

Neighborhoods Parenting Social competence Middle childhood 

References

  1. Aneshensel, C. S., & Sucoff, C. A. (1996). The neighborhood context of adolescent mental health. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 37(4), 293–310.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barber, B. K., Olsen, J. E., & Shagle, S. C. (1994). Associations between parental psychological and behavioral control and youth internalized and externalized behaviors. Child Development, 65(4), 1120–1136.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barnes, G. M., Farrell, M. P., & Windle, M. (1987). Parent-adolescent interactions in the development of alcohol abuse and other deviant behaviors. Family Perspective, 21, 321–335.Google Scholar
  4. Barnes, G. M., & Windle, M. (1987). Family factors in adolescent alcohol and drug abuse. Pediatrician, 24, 13–18.Google Scholar
  5. Bowen, N. K., Bowen, G. L., & Ware, W. (2002). Neighborhood social disorganization, families, and the educational behavior of adolescents. Journal of Adolescent Research, 17(5), 468–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brody, G. H., Ge, X., Conger, R., Gibbons, F. X., Murry, V. M., Gerrard, M., et al. (2001). The influence of neighborhood disadvantage, collective socialization, and parenting on African American children’s affiliation with deviant peers. Child Development, 72(4), 1231–1246.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brody, G. H., Ge, X., Kim, S. Y., Murry, V. M., Simons, R. L., Gibbons, F. X., et al. (2003). Neighborhood disadvantage moderates associations of parenting and older sibling problem attitudes and behavior with conduct disorders in African American children. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 71(2), 211–222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Browning, C. R., Leventhal, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2005). Sexual initiation in early adolescence: The nexus of parental and community control. American Sociological Review, 70(5), 758–778.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cairns, R. B., Bergman, L. R., & Kagan, J. (Eds.). (1998). Methods and models for studying the individual. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  10. Catalano, R. F., Berglund, M. L., Ryan, J. A. M., Lonczak, H. S., & Hawkins, J. D. (2002). Positive youth development in the United States: Research findings on evaluations of positive youth development programs. Prevention & Treatment, 5(1), 15. doi: 10.1037/1522-3736.5.1.515a.Google Scholar
  11. Caughy, M. O., Nettles, S. M., O’Campo, P. J., & Lohrfink, K. F. (2006). Neighborhood matters: Racial socialization and the development of young African American children. Child Development, 77(5), 1220–1236.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Caughy, M. O., O’Campo, P. J., & Brodsky, A. E. (1999). Neighborhoods, families, and children: Implications for policy and practice. Journal of Community Psychology, 27, 615–633.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Caughy, M. O., O’Campo, P. J., & Muntaner, C. (2004). Experiences of racism among African American parents and the mental health of their preschool-aged children. American Journal of Public Health, 94(12), 2118–2224.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Ceballo, R., & McLoyd, V. (2002). Social support and parenting in poor, dangerous neighborhoods. Child Development, 73(4), 1310–1321.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cleveland, H. H. (2003). Disadvantaged neighborhoods and adolescent aggression: Behavioral genetic evidence of contextual effects. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 13(2), 211–238.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cleveland, H. H., & Gilson, M. (2004). The effects of neighborhood proportion of single-parent families and mother-adolescent relationships on adolescents’ number of sexual partners. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 33(4), 319–329.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Colder, C. R., Mott, J., Levy, S., & Flay, B. (2000). The relation of perceived neighborhood danger to childhood aggression: A test of mediating mechanisms. American Journal of Community Psychology, 28(1), 83–103.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Conger, R. D., Ge, X., Elder, G. H. J., Lorenz, F. O., & Simons, R. L. (1994). Economic stress, coercive family process, and developmental problems of adolescents. Child Development, 65, 541–561.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Cubbin, C., Santelli, J., Brindis, C. D., & Braveman, P. (2005). Neighborhood context and sexual behaviors among adolescents: Findings from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 37(3), 125–134.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dornbusch, S. M., Ritter, P. L., Leiderman, P. H., Roberts, D. F., & Fraleigh, M. J. (1987). The relation of parenting style to adolescent school performance. Child Development, 58, 1244–1257.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dorsey, S., & Forehand, R. (2003). The relation of social capital to child psychosocial adjustment difficulties: The role of positive parenting and neighborhood dangerousness. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment, 25(1), 11–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Duncan, G. J., & Raudenbush, S. W. (1999). Assessing the effects of context in studies of child and youth development. Educational Psychologist, 34(1), 29–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Earls, F. (1999). Project on human development in Chicago neighborhoods: Community survey (Vol. 1994–95). Boston, MA: Harvard Medical School.Google Scholar
  24. Ge, X., Brody, G. H., Conger, R. D., Simons, R. L., & Murry, V. M. (2002). Contextual amplification of pubertal transition effects on deviant peer affiliation and externalizing behavior among African American children. Developmental Psychology, 38(1), 42–54.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gorman-Smith, D., Tolan, P. H., & Henry, D. B. (2000). A developmental-ecological model of the relation of family functioning to patterns of delinquency. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 16(2), 169–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Harding, D. J. (2003). Counterfactual models of neighborhood effects: The effect of neighborhood poverty on dropping out and teenage pregnancy. American Journal of Sociology, 109(3), 676–719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Jones, S., & Lynam, D. R. (2009). In the eye of the impulsive beholder: The interaction between impulsivity and perceived informal social control on offending. Criminal Justice and Behavior, 36(3), 307–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Leonard, T. C. M., Caughy, M. O., Mays, J. K., & Murdoch, J. C. (2011). Systematic neighborhood observations at high spatial resolution: Methodology and assessment of potential benefits. PLoS, 6(6), e20225.Google Scholar
  29. Leventhal, T., & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2003). Moving to opportunity: An experimental study of neighborhood effects on mental health. American Journal of Public Health, 93(9), 1576–1582.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Meyers, S. A., & Miller, C. (2004). Direct, mediated, moderated, and cumulative relations between neighborhood characteristics and adolescent outcomes. Adolescence, 39(153), 121–144.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Morenoff, J. D., & Sampson, R. J. (1997). Violent crime and the spatial dynamics of neighborhood transition: Chicago, 1970–1990. Social Forces, 76, 31–64.Google Scholar
  32. Natsuaki, M. N., Ge, X., Brody, G. H., Simons, R. L., Gibbons, F. X., & Cutrona, C. (2007). African American children’s depressive symptoms: The prospective effects of neighborhood disorder, stressful life events, and parenting. American Journal of Community Psychology, 39, 163–176.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Olson, D. H. (1993). Circumplex model of marital and family systems: Assessing family functioning. In F. Walsh (Ed.), Normal family processes (2nd ed., pp. 104–137, Guildford Family Therapy Series). New York: Guilford Press.Google Scholar
  34. Paschall, M. J., & Hubbard, M. L. (1998). Effects of neighborhood and family stressors on African American male adolescents’ self-worth and propensity for violent behavior. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 66(5), 825–831.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Rankin, B. H., & Quane, J. M. (2002). Social contexts and urban adolescent outcomes: The interrelated effects of neighborhoods, families, and peers on African-American youth. Social Problems, 49, 79–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Roche, K. M., Ensminger, M. E., & Cherlin, A. (2007). Variations in parenting and adolescent outcomes among African American and Latino families living in low-income, urban areas. Journal of Family Issues, 28(7), 882–909.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Roche, K. M., & Leventhal, T. (2009). Beyond neighborhood poverty: Family management, neighborhood disorder, and early transitions to sex. Journal of Family Psychology, 23(6), 819–827.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Roche, K. M., Mekos, D., Alexander, C. S., Astone, N. M., Bandeen-Roche, K., & Ensminger, M. E. (2005). Parenting influences on early sex initiation among adolescents: How neighborhood matters. Journal of Family Issues, 26, 32–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Sampson, R. J. (1991). Linking the micro and macrolevel dimensions of community social organization. Social Forces, 70(1), 43–64.Google Scholar
  40. Sampson, R. J. (1992). Family management and child development: Insights from social disorganization theory. In J. McCord (Ed.), Facts, frameworks, and forecasts. Advances in criminological theory (Vol. 3, pp. 63–93). New Brunswick, NJ, USA: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  41. Sampson, R. J., Morenoff, J. D., & Earls, F. (1999). Beyond social capital: Spatial dynamics of collective efficacy for children. American Sociological Review, 64(5), 633–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Sampson, R. J., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighborhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy. Science, 277, 918–924.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Schaefer-McDaniel, N., Caughy, M. O., O’Campo, P. J., & Gearey, W. (2010). Examining methodological details of neighborhood observations and the relationship to health: A literature review. Social Science and Medicine, 70, 277–292.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Schwartz, D., & Gorman, A. H. (2003). Community violence exposure and children’s academic functioning. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(1), 163–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Seidman, E., Yoshikawa, H., Roberts, A., Chesir-Teran, D., Allen, L., Friedman, J. L., et al. (1998). Structural and experiential neighborhood contexts, developmental stage, and antisocial behavior among urban adolescents in poverty. Development and Psychopathology, 10, 259–281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Shaw, C., & McKay, H. (1942). Juvenile deliquency and urban areas. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  47. Silk, J. S., Sessa, F. M., Morris, A. S., Steinberg, L., & Avenevoli, S. (2004). Neighborhood cohesion as a buffer against hostile maternal parenting. Journal of Family Psychology, 18(1), 135–146.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Simons, R. L., Johnson, C., Beaman, J., Conger, R. D., & Whitbeck, L. B. (1996). Parents and peer group as mediators of the effect of community structure on adolescent problem behavior. American Journal of Community Psychology, 24(1), 145–171.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Simons, R. L., Johnson, C., & Conger, R. D. (1994). Harsh corporal punishment versus quality of parental involvement as an explanation of adolescent maladjustment. Journal of Marriage & the Family, 56(3), 591–607.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Simons, R. L., Simons, L. G., Burt, C. H., Brody, G. H., & Cutrona, C. (2005). Collective efficacy, authoritative parenting and delinquency: A longitudinal test of a model integrating community- and family-level processes. Criminology, 43, 989–1029.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. StataCorp. (2009). Multiple-imputation reference manual. College Station: Stata Press.Google Scholar
  52. Steinberg, L., Lamborn, S. D., Dornbusch, S. M., & Darling, N. (1992). Impact of parenting practices on adolescent achievement: Authoritative parenting, school involvement, and encouragement to succeed. Child Development, 63, 1266–1281.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Thompson, F. T. (2002). Student achievement, selected environmental characteristics, and neighborhood type. Urban Review, 34(3), 277–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Tremblay, R. E., Loeber, R., Gagnon, C., Charlebois, P., Larivee, S., & LeBlanc, M. (1991). Disruptive boys with stable and unstable high fighting behavior patterns during junior elementary school. Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 19(3), 285–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Vanderbilt-Adriance, E., & Shaw, D. S. (2006). Neighborhood risk and the development of resilience. Annals of the New York Academy of Science, 1094, 359–362.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Vazsonyi, A. T., Cleveland, H. H., & Wiebe, R. P. (2006). Does the effect of impulsivity on delinquency vary by level of neighborhood disadvantage? Criminal Justice and Behavior, 33(4), 511–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Werthamer-Larsson, L., Kellam, S. G., & Wheeler, L. (1991). Effect of first-grade classroom environment on shy behavior, aggressive behavior, and concentration problems. American Journal of Community Psychology, 19(4), 585–602.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Wickrama, K. A. S., Merton, M., & Elder, J. G. H. (2005). Community influence on precocious transitions to adulthood: Racial differences and mental health consequences. Journal of Community Psychology, 33, 639–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Wickrama, K. A. T., Wickrama, K. A. S., & Bryant, C. M. (2006). Community influence on adolescent obesity: Race/ethnicity differences. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 35(4), 647–657.Google Scholar
  60. Windle, M., Grunbaum, J. A., Elliott, M., Tortolero, S. R., Berry, S., Gilliland, J., et al. (2004). Healthy passages. A multilevel, multimethod longitudinal study of adolescent health. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 27(2), 164–172.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Xue, Y., Leventhal, T., Brooks-Gunn, J., & Earls, F. (2005). Neighborhood of residence and mental health problems of 5- to 11-year-olds. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 554–563.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Zimmerman, G. (2010). Impulsivity, offending, and the neighborhood: Investigating the person–context nexus. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, 26(3), 301–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret O’Brien Caughy
    • 1
  • Luisa Franzini
    • 6
  • Michael Windle
    • 2
  • Patricia Dittus
    • 3
  • Paula Cuccaro
    • 1
  • Marc N. Elliott
    • 4
  • Mark A. Schuster
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.University of Texas School of Public HealthDallasUSA
  2. 2.Emory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  3. 3.Centers for Disease Control and PreventionAtlantaUSA
  4. 4.RANDSanta MonicaUSA
  5. 5.Children’s Hospital BostonHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  6. 6.University of Texas School of Public HealthHoustonUSA

Personalised recommendations