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At the Intersection of Neighborhoods and Schools: Do Relationships Moderate Associations between Neighborhood and Children’s Social-Emotional Development?
Children who possess intrapersonal and interpersonal social-emotional skills in elementary school are likely to experience academic and personal success. Indeed, social-emotional skills enable children to succeed. Thus, it is paramount to understand factors associated with positive social-emotional development. The current study utilized ecological and resilience frameworks to examine the extent to which children’s residential neighborhood context (i.e., exosystem) poses risk for poor social-emotional development, and to uncover the roles of teacher-student relationships (i.e., microsystem) and parent-teacher relationships (i.e., mesosystem) in protecting against risks associated with residing in a socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhood. The analytic sample was comprised of 233 2nd grade children and their parents and teachers participating in a federally funded longitudinal study of early education practices. To measure the socioeconomic conditions of children’s neighborhoods, a validated index using U.S. Census data was utilized. Parents and teachers provided ratings of the teacher-student relationship, parent-teacher relationship, and children’s intrapersonal and interpersonal social-emotional skills. Cross-classified multilevel modeling was used. Contrary to study hypotheses, the socioeconomic conditions of children’s residential neighborhoods were not related to children’s interpersonal or intrapersonal social-emotional skills and did not differ based on the quality of teacher-student or parent-teacher relationships. Results may suggest that the socioeconomic conditions of children’s neighborhoods do not necessarily determine social-emotional outcomes. Various factors within individual children, families, schools, and neighborhoods likely interact to impact children’s social-emotional development. Future research would benefit from taking a strengths-based approach to identify the unique strengths and capacities of neighborhoods, families, schools, and children that promote positive social-emotional development and buffer the impact of risk.
Kerby, Hannah Marie, "At the Intersection of Neighborhoods and Schools: Do Relationships Moderate Associations between Neighborhood and Children’s Social-Emotional Development?" (2022). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI29215700.