How Does the Neighborhood “Come through the Door?” Concentrated Disadvantage, Residential Instability, and the Home Environment for Preschoolers

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Abstract

Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood is associated with heightened risk for poor school readiness and health outcomes in early childhood, and the home environment is thought to be a primary mechanism by which neighborhood context impacts preschoolers. This study examined the effects of neighborhood concentrated disadvantage and neighborhood residential instability on the home physical environment and home learning environment for preschoolers in economically disadvantaged families (N = 187). Using structural equation modeling, mothers' perceived neighborhood disorder and depressive symptoms were examined as mechanisms by which neighborhood context “comes through the door.” Mothers' neighborhood social embeddedness was also explored as a protective factor. Results showed that concentrated disadvantage was negatively associated with the quality of the home physical environment, and residential instability was negatively associated with the quality of the home learning environment. Concentrated disadvantage had an indirect effect on the home learning environment through mothers' perceived neighborhood disorder and depressive symptoms. The effects of concentrated disadvantage on the home environment were buffered by mothers' neighborhood social embeddedness. Study findings advance understanding of socioeconomic- and place-based disparities in developmental outcomes and identify potential targets for interventions aimed at lessening effects of neighborhood disadvantage on families with young children.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-228
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Volume61
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018

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Mothers
learning environment
Learning
Vulnerable Populations
Depression
school readiness
School Health Services
childhood
health

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

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title = "How Does the Neighborhood “Come through the Door?” Concentrated Disadvantage, Residential Instability, and the Home Environment for Preschoolers",
abstract = "Living in a disadvantaged neighborhood is associated with heightened risk for poor school readiness and health outcomes in early childhood, and the home environment is thought to be a primary mechanism by which neighborhood context impacts preschoolers. This study examined the effects of neighborhood concentrated disadvantage and neighborhood residential instability on the home physical environment and home learning environment for preschoolers in economically disadvantaged families (N = 187). Using structural equation modeling, mothers' perceived neighborhood disorder and depressive symptoms were examined as mechanisms by which neighborhood context “comes through the door.” Mothers' neighborhood social embeddedness was also explored as a protective factor. Results showed that concentrated disadvantage was negatively associated with the quality of the home physical environment, and residential instability was negatively associated with the quality of the home learning environment. Concentrated disadvantage had an indirect effect on the home learning environment through mothers' perceived neighborhood disorder and depressive symptoms. The effects of concentrated disadvantage on the home environment were buffered by mothers' neighborhood social embeddedness. Study findings advance understanding of socioeconomic- and place-based disparities in developmental outcomes and identify potential targets for interventions aimed at lessening effects of neighborhood disadvantage on families with young children.",
author = "May, {Emily M.} and Azar, {Sandra T.} and Matthews, {Stephen Augustus}",
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AU - Matthews, Stephen Augustus

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