Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

At the Intersection of Neighborhoods and Schools: Do Relationships Moderate Associations between Neighborhood and Children’s Social-Emotional Development?

Hannah Marie Kerby, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


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.

Subject Area

Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

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.