A systematic review and meta-analysis of the association of neighborhood ethnic-racial concentrations and adolescent behaviour problems in the U.S.

Rebecca M.B. White, Michelle C. Pasco, Kevin M. Korous, José M. Causadias

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Abstract

Introduction: Evidence suggesting a link between neighborhood ethnic-racial concentrations and adolescent behaviour problems in the U.S. is mixed, with some studies documenting negative and others positive associations. This work raises important questions about promoting and inhibiting effects of neighborhood environments characterized by high concentrations of ethnic-racial minority groups, including Asian Americans, Blacks or African Americans, and Latinos. We conducted a meta-analysis to examine 1) the magnitude, direction, and variability of the association between neighborhood ethnic-racial concentrations and adolescent behaviour problems, and 2) whether these associations varied by putative moderators. Methods: We conducted a systematic search in PsycINFO, Web of Science, and PubMed as well as searching reference lists and relying on expert knowledge (285 initial records). We coded the records for theoretical and design elements. Results: We included 40 effect sizes from 17 records (24% unpublished) with N = 11,858. The average association between neighborhood ethnic-racial concentrations and adolescent behaviour problems was not significantly different from zero (r = −0.001, 95% CI -0.048, 0.046, p = .964, τ2 = 0.006); there was a large percentage of systematic heterogeneity (I2 = 77.1%), which was not explained by putative moderators. Conclusions: There is substantial unexplained systematic heterogeneity in the association between neighborhood ethnic-racial concentrations and adolescents’ behaviour problems. There is heavy reliance on a small number of parent datasets in research on this topic, alongside critical reporting omissions. We offer recommendations to guide future work, in hopes of supporting culturally and developmentally informed policies and programs capable of addressing residential segregation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-84
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Adolescence
Volume78
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2020

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Keywords

  • Behaviour problems
  • Ethnicity
  • Meta-analysis
  • Neighborhood
  • Race
  • Systematic review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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