Direct, Mediated, Moderated, and Cumulative Relations between Neighborhood Characteristics and Adolescent Outcomes

By Meyers, Steven A.; Miller, Cheryl | Adolescence, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Direct, Mediated, Moderated, and Cumulative Relations between Neighborhood Characteristics and Adolescent Outcomes


Meyers, Steven A., Miller, Cheryl, Adolescence


Although it is widely accepted that child development is shaped by many factors (Bronfenbrenner, 1979), relatively little research has explored the ways in which forces outside of adolescents' immediate environments influence their well-being. One important potential determinant of child outcomes that only recently has been the subject of study is the neighborhood.

Neighborhoods, characterized by differing levels of economic advantage, opportunity, resources, social cohesion, and safety, have a dramatically wide range of effects on adolescents' lives (Pinderhughes, Nix, Foster, Jones, & Conduct Problems Prevention Research Group, 2001; Sampson, 2001). However, the precise mechanism of this influence remains less than clear (Leventhal & Brooks-Gunn, 2000). In this study, we investigated how and when neighborhoods relate to adolescents' psychological adjustment and problems at school. In addition to verifying the direct association between these constructs, we explored mediated, moderated, and cumulative relations among neighborhood characteristics, parenting behaviors, peer characteristics, and adolescent outcomes.

Direct Relations Between Neighborhoods and Adolescent Outcomes

Neighborhood characteristics can directly influence adolescent development in different ways (Jencks & Mayer, 1990; Wilson, 1987). For instance, neighborhoods differ in terms of the availability of well-equipped schools and community services that promote child development. Similarly, neighborhoods vary in terms of the presence of residents who serve as role models and collectively socialize and monitor the children in their communities. Furthermore, neighborhood conditions, such as the amount of institutional resources and job opportunities, may influence residents' attitudes and behaviors as well as child outcomes. Adolescents living in neighborhoods in which most residents are poor, have little education, and have difficulty obtaining jobs may adopt the view that they have little control over their lives and a poor chance of success (cf. Wilson, 1991).

Researchers have documented direct relations between neighborhood characteristics and adolescents' academic success that persist after controlling for family socioeconomic status (SES). For instance, neighborhood SES has been associated with adolescents' performance on standardized tests (Halpern-Felsher et al., 1997), school grades (Dornbusch, Ritter, & Steinberg, 1991), and high school graduation rates (Brooks-Gunn, Duncan, Klebanov, & Sealand, 1993; Duncan, 1994). In addition, neighborhood qualities are directly associated with adolescents' behavioral and emotional adjustment. Neighborhood SES and community disadvantage have been related to adolescent aggression and conduct disorder (Aneshensel & Sucoff, 1996) as well as delinquent and risky behaviors (Kalil & Eccles, 1998).

Indirect Relations Between Neighborhoods and Adolescent Outcomes

Alternatively, neighborhood dimensions may be conceptualized as distal variables that act through more immediate and proximal forces in adolescents' everyday lives (Baldwin, Baldwin, & Cole, 1990). The argument for such indirect relations is supported by ecological theory, which asserts that child development is shaped by different levels of environmental influence (Bronfenbrenner, 1979). These environmental forces include microsystemic factors, or the moment-by-moment interactions that children and adolescents experience with significant people in their lives (e.g., parents, friends, and teachers). Ecological theory also suggests that child development is affected by more overarching exosystemic and macrosystemic factors, such as parental employment or neighborhood SES. These different ecological systems each contribute to child development; they are also interrelated and affect each other in a reciprocal and dynamic manner.

In terms germane to the present investigation, ecological theory suggests that neighborhood characteristics will have direct and unique relations with adolescent outcomes when more proximal factors are considered.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Direct, Mediated, Moderated, and Cumulative Relations between Neighborhood Characteristics and Adolescent Outcomes
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.