Neighborhood structural characteristics and Mexican-origin adolescents' development

Rebecca M.B. White, Katharine H. Zeiders, M. Dalal Safa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Ethnic-racial and socioeconomic residential segregation are endemic in the United States, representing societal-level sociocultural processes that likely shape development. Considered alongside communities' abilities to respond to external forces, like stratification, in ways that promote youth adaptive functioning and mitigate maladaptive functioning, it is likely that residence in segregated neighborhoods during adolescence has both costs and benefits. We examined the influences that early adolescents' neighborhood structural characteristics, including Latino concentration and concentrated poverty, had on a range of developmentally salient downstream outcomes (i.e., internalizing, externalizing, prosocial behaviors, and ethnic-racial identity resolution) via implications for intermediate aspects of adolescents' community participation and engagement (i.e., ethnic-racial identity exploration, ethnic-racial discrimination from peers, and school attachment). These mediational mechanisms were tested prospectively across three waves (Mage w1-w3 = 12.79, 15.83, 17.37 years, respectively) in a sample of 733 Mexican-origin adolescents (48.8% female). We found higher neighborhood Latino concentration during early adolescence predicted greater school attachment and ethnic-racial identity exploration and lower discrimination from peers in middle adolescence. These benefits, in turn, were associated with lower externalizing and internalizing and higher ethnic-racial identity resolution and prosocial behaviors in late adolescence. Findings are discussed relative to major guidelines for integrating culture into development and psychopathology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1679-1698
Number of pages20
JournalDevelopment and psychopathology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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