Neighborhoods, social support, and african american adolescents' mental health outcomes: a multilevel path analysis

Child Dev. 2013 May-Jun;84(3):858-74. doi: 10.1111/cdev.12018. Epub 2012 Nov 30.


This study explored how neighborhood characteristics may relate to African American adolescents' internalizing symptoms via adolescents' social support and perceptions of neighborhood cohesion. Participants included 571 urban, African American adolescents (52% female; M age = 17.8). A multilevel path analysis testing both direct and indirect effects of neighborhood characteristics on adolescents' mental health outcomes was conducted. Higher neighborhood poverty and unemployment rates predicted greater internalizing symptoms via lower cumulative social support and perceptions of neighborhood cohesion. In contrast, higher concentrations of African American and residentially stable residents in one's neighborhood related to fewer internalizing symptoms among adolescent residents via greater cumulative social support and perceptions of neighborhood cohesion. Implications of these findings are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology*
  • Black or African American / psychology*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Midwestern United States
  • Perception
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Environment*
  • Social Support*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Urban Health