Correlation Between Neighborhood Education and Child Socio-Emotional Development Open Access

Reed, Kirsten (2017)

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Socio-emotional competency is not an innate characteristic; the ability to conform to societal norms develops over time, shaped by children's interactions with their environment. Family SES going back at least two generations, as well as neighborhood SES play a role in child socio-emotional outcomes (1-4). However, use of a composite SES measure in most studies makes comparison between studies difficult, and the association of census tract college education percentage with child socio-emotional health has not been studied previously. Multilevel linear models were used in this cross-sectional study to account for the nesting of 13,000 children in census tract quintiles of adult education across the United States in estimating the association between neighborhood education and child socio-emotional health. Analyses were controlled for a variety of child and family characteristics. Maternal education and race were also included in the model as effect modifiers of the neighborhood exposures - child outcomes association. The adjusted effects for child approaches to learning, interpersonal skills, social interaction, and self-control were 0.03 (95% CI: -0.03, 0.09), 0.00 (95% CI: -0.08, 0.07), -0.01 (95% CI: -0.04, 0.03), 0.01 (95% CI: -0.03, 0.04) respectively when comparing the moderate proportion (18.6% - 27.2%) to the highest proportion ( >41.1%) of college educated adults. In addition, adjusted effects for externalizing and internalizing behavior were -0.02 (95% CI: -0.05, 0.02), and 0.00 (95% CI: -0.03, 0.03) respectively. Overall, children residing in tracts with adult college education below 41% (below the highest quintile) expressed better approaches to learning but worse self-control and interpersonal skills. There was a crude association between tract education quintiles and outcomes, largely attenuated by adjustment for individual SES. Tract education influenced both measures of problem behavior, but the effects showed no consistent trend across quintiles of college educated adults. In summation, neighborhood education may be more strongly associated with academic social skills than those socio-emotional competencies involving interaction with others and expression.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Chapter I: Background/Literature Review 1

Socio-Emotional Health 1

Determinants of Socio-Emotional Health 2

Family and individual SES factors 2

Child characteristics and demographics 4

Census tract level factors 5

Neighborhood Interventions 7

Proportion of College Educated Adults & Socio-Emotional Health 8

Issues with Neighborhood Studies 9

Chapter II: Manuscript 11

Abstract 11

Introduction 11

Methods 14

Study design 14

Variables 15

Statistical methods 18

Survey Methods 19

Results 20

Study Size 20

Bivariate analysis 21

Socio-emotional Outcomes 22

Interaction Assessment 24

Discussion 26

Socio-emotional Outcomes 27

Interaction Assessment 28

Limitations 29

References 31

Tables 37

Figures 45

Chapter III: Summary, Public Health Implications, Possible Future Directions 49

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