Connecting the dots: How connectedness to multiple contexts influences the psychological and academic adjustment of urban youth

Dawn Paula Witherspoon, Marieka Schotland, Niobe Way, Diane Hughes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations


Cluster analyses and hierarchical linear modeling were used to investigate the impact of perceptions of connectedness to family, school, and neighborhood contexts on academic and psycho-social outcomes for 437 urban ethnically diverse adolescents. Five profiles of connectedness to family, school, and neighborhood were identified. Two profiles were characterized by reports of either strong or weak connectedness to all contexts. The other three profiles were anchored by reports of low family connectedness, low neighborhood connectedness, or average connectedness. Race/ethnic differences were found in profiles and outcomes. Hierarchical linear models showed that each profile of connectedness was significantly associated with adolescents' self-report of grades, self-esteem, and depressive symptoms after adjusting for correlates, suggesting that the domain and number of contexts matter for positive youth development. These analyses underscore the importance of considering the independent and joint effects of family, schools, and neighborhoods on adolescent well-being. Implications for research and intervention are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-216
Number of pages18
JournalApplied Developmental Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

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