Neighborhoods as a developmental context: a multilevel analysis of neighborhood effects on Head Start families and children

Am J Community Psychol. 2010 Mar;45(1-2):49-67. doi: 10.1007/s10464-009-9279-z.


Neighborhoods have been recognized in theory and research as an important context for child development. This study used data from the Head Start Family and Child Experiences Survey (FACES) and Census 2000 to assess the underlying factor structure and impact of neighborhood factors on child cognitive and behavioral outcomes, including the critical family and social factors that may mediate and/or moderate these relationships. Factor analyses found five factors described Head Start neighborhoods. After controlling for family and child factors, multilevel analyses found significant direct effects of neighborhood factors on Head Start children's cognitive and behavioral outcomes. There were no mediation effects found for family or social variables between neighborhood factors and child outcomes. A large number of moderation effects were found although there was not a clear pattern to the results. Future research, policy, and practice implications are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child Development*
  • Data Collection
  • Early Intervention, Educational*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • United States
  • Young Adult