Neighborhood influences on early childhood behavioral problems: Child maltreatment as a mediator

Fei Pei, Susan Yoon, Kathryn Maguire-Jack, Mo Yee Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: A sizable number of previous research investigated the influences of untreated behavior problems in children's early age, as well as how different environmental factors affect child behavior problems (King et al., 2004; Vaillancourt et al., 2013). However, few studies focused on the influences of different types of neighborhood factors on early childhood internalizing and externalizing symptoms via adverse childhood experiences. Objective: This study aims to capture the specific pathways from neighborhood structural factors and process factors to early childhood internalizing and externalizing symptoms. Participants and setting: The restricted version of the Fragile Family Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) dataset at ages 3 and 5 were used, and 2722 children were included in the final model. Methods: The Structural Equation Model was used to estimate the pathways from neighborhood structural and process factors to early childhood internalizing (INT) and externalizing (EXT) symptoms. Neighborhood structural factors were measured at the census tract level. Neighborhood collective efficacy, child maltreatment experiences, and early childhood internalizing, and externalizing symptoms were reported by the focal child's mother. Results: Neighborhood process factors and structural factors showed both direct and indirect effects on early childhood EXT and INT differently. Emotional assault and neglect worked as mediators in this relationship. Conclusions: Findings emphasize the importance for researchers and practitioners to involve neighborhood context when assisting children with early childhood behavior problems. Implications for research and interventions are further discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105391
JournalChild Abuse and Neglect
Volume123
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • Child behavior problems
  • Child development
  • Child maltreatment
  • Early childhood
  • Neighborhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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