Understanding School–Neighborhood Mesosystemic Effects on Adolescent Development

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22 Scopus citations


Research has demonstrated that school and neighborhood microsystems have important implications for adolescent development, but less attention is given to the school–neighborhood mesosystem (i.e., how these contexts intersect through moderational and mediational mechanisms.) Understanding the school–neighborhood mesosystem is important conceptually, methodologically, and for public policy. This article provides a narrative review of literature that examines the effects of the school–neighborhood mesosystem on adolescent development. The review focuses on adolescents’ proximal processes and phenomenological experiences in their schools and neighborhoods, as opposed to structural characteristics of these environments. This article situates the literature reviewed within a theoretical framework adapted from prior frameworks developed to describe the family–neighborhood mesosystem. Specifically, the framework outlines four moderational mechanisms and one mediational model through which school and neighborhood contexts may intersect. Within each mechanism, a narrative review of existing scholarship is presented, and hypothetical scenarios are offered when prior research is limited. This structure highlights the utility of the theoretical framework, by allowing for greater meaning making and synthesis across existing studies, identifying gaps in the current literature, and presenting directions for future research regarding the school–neighborhood mesosystem. The implications of the school–neighborhood mesosystem for both researchers and policy makers are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-319
Number of pages19
JournalAdolescent Research Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2018


  • Advantage
  • Disadvantage
  • Ecological framework
  • Interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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