Neighborhood Disorder and Children's Antisocial Behavior: The Protective Effect of Family Support Among Mexican American and African American Families

Thomas J. Schofield, Rand D. Conger, Katherine J. Conger, Monica J. Martin, Gene Brody, Ronald Simons, Carolyn Cutrona

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using data from a sample of 673 Mexican Origin families, the current investigation examined the degree to which family supportiveness acted as a protective buffer between neighborhood disorder and antisocial behavior during late childhood (i. e. intent to use controlled substances, externalizing, and association with deviant peers). Children's perceptions of neighborhood disorder fully mediated associations between census and observer measures of neighborhood disorder and their antisocial behavior. Family support buffered children from the higher rates of antisocial behavior generally associated with living in disorderly neighborhoods. An additional goal of the current study was to replicate these findings in a second sample of 897 African American families, and that replication was successful. These findings suggest that family support may play a protective role for children living in dangerous or disadvantaged neighborhoods. They also suggest that neighborhood interventions should consider several points of entry including structural changes, resident perceptions of their neighborhood and family support.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-113
Number of pages13
JournalAmerican Journal of Community Psychology
Volume50
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012

Keywords

  • African Americans
  • Antisocial behavior
  • Family relations
  • Mexican Americans
  • Neighborhoods

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