Neighborhood Structure, Parenting, Flourishing, and Behavioral Problems in Young Children of Immigrants

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Many low-income children of immigrants live in disadvantaged neighborhoods marred by isolation, resource deficiency, and violence (Suarez-Orozco, Suarez-Orozco, & Todorova, 2008). Living in neighborhoods with low-socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with higher rates of internalizing (Lara-Cinisomo, Xue, & Brooks-Gunn, 2013) and externalizing problems (Russell, Ford, Williams, & Russell, 2016). However, there is a dearth of research examining the pathways through which neighborhood SES influences preschool-age children of immigrants’ development. Using a subsample of 3-5-year-old children (N = 1,134) from the National Survey of Children’s Health (Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative, 2018), this study tests a model of direct and indirect neighborhood SES effects on young children who have at least one foreign-born parent. Based on a relational developmental systems perspective and family stress theory, the proposed model identified neighborhood structural disadvantage (i.e., cohesion, resources, and support) and parenting (i.e., parent-child interactions, aggravation, and mental health) as indirect pathways through which neighborhood SES influences preschool-aged children of immigrants’ flourishing and behavioral problems. Results indicated that there was an indirect effect of neighborhood SES on child flourishing and behavioral problems through neighborhood structural conditions and parenting (mental health, aggravation, parent-child interaction). This research contributes to increasing knowledge and understanding of the links between foreign-born parental nativity, neighborhood disadvantage, and the health of children of immigrants.

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Psychology (PhD, Non-Clinical)

First Advisor

Rojas-Flores, Lisseth

Document Type





Children of Immigrants, Neighborhood Structure, Preschool-aged children, Parenting, Behavioral Problems




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