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J Fam Issues. 2012 Dec 1;33(12):1658-1687.

The Relationship between Neighborhood Characteristics and Effective Parenting Behaviors: The Role of Social Support.

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  • 1Prevention Research Center, 1995 University Ave., Suite 450, Berkeley, CA 94704; Work: (513) 321-0891; Cell: (510) 708-2215; hbyrnes@prev.org ; fax: (510) 644-0594.


Neighborhood characteristics have been linked to healthy behavior, including effective parenting behaviors. This may be partially explained through the neighborhood's relation to parents' access to social support from friends and family. The current study examined associations of neighborhood characteristics with parenting behaviors indirectly through social support. The sample included 614 mothers of 11-12 year old youths enrolled in a health care system in the San Francisco area. Structural equations modeling shows that neighborhood perceptions were related to parenting behaviors, indirectly through social support, while archival census neighborhood indicators were unrelated to social support and parenting. Perceived neighborhood social cohesion and control were related to greater social support, which was related to more effective parenting style, parent-child communication, and monitoring. Perceived neighborhood disorganization was unrelated to social support. Prevention strategies should focus on helping parents build a social support network that can act as a resource in times of need.


neighborhoods; parenting; pre-adolescents; social support

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