Videos

Neighborhood Quality Influences Kids’ Behavior

March 2018

BALTIMORE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — According to experts, neighborhoods with abandoned homes and garbage-filled lots could be more than just eyesores for those living nearby. New research suggests that the perceived quality of a neighborhood may influence a child’s behavior though his or her teens, and possibly beyond.

A clean, safe place to play—what other factors do parents perceive as making a neighborhood high-quality or poor-quality for raising kids? This East Baltimore neighborhood was the inspiration for one area of public health research. Social scientist Mengying Li, PhD, lived here while attending graduate school.

“Once I actually heard a gunshot at my doorstep, and like probably a teenager got shot in his back,” detailed Li.

Li and fellow researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health studied data on 3,500 children over 10 years, from birth to age 12. Researchers say that parents rated the perceived quality of their neighborhood for raising children, with a score of one being the poorest to a high of five. Many of the poor-quality neighborhoods had dilapidated homes, garbage, signs of drug use on the sidewalks, and lots of noise.

“Children who live in poor-quality neighborhoods would have more externalizing behaviors,” explained Li.

Problem behaviors in kids—like fighting, bullying, cheating, or being destructive—predicted more serious outcomes later in life, but researchers say that caregivers can help a child change direction.

“If there is a change of environment—say, if they have improvements in their family relationship or the neighborhood condition—they actually might have an opportunity to improve,” Li told Ivanhoe.

Researchers say that most caregivers knew they were living in a neighborhood that wasn’t the best for raising kids, but were unable to leave for a number of reasons, including the cost of housing, proximity to jobs, and childcare. Researchers say that future studies may measure whether current housing programs can mitigate some of those factors and impact a child’s behavior.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising and Field Producer; Milvionne Chery, Assistant Producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Videographer.

Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 


Spanish Translation

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Los vecindarios con casas abandonadas y basura en cada esquina pueden ser más que algo desagradable para la vista de los residentes. Según un estudio, la calidad del barrio puede afectar la conducta de los niños durante la adolescencia, y probablemente, el resto de su vida.

Los residentes del este de Baltimore aseguran que se pueden ver ventas de droga en las calles y escuchar sirenas de policía todos los días, a todas horas. Este vecindario fue objeto de un estudio sobre salud pública. La científica mengying li vivió allí mientras que estudiaba su post grado. Ella y sus colegas analizaron datos obtenidos durante 10 años de 3 mil 500 niños del barrio, desde la cuna a los doce años de edad. Los padres evaluaron la calidad del vecindario para criar una familia, entre el 1, la peor puntuación, al 5.

La mayoría de los barrios en que vivían los niños tenían casas abandonadas, basura amontonada, tráfico de drogas evidente y ruido constante. El estudio determinó que los niños presentaban más problemas de conducta. Las peleas, conducta antisocial, y actitudes impulsivas o desafiantes pueden llevar a los niños a tener serios problemas en el futuro. Según los estudios los padres y educadores pueden ayudar a reconducir esa actitud.

El estudio determinó que los adultos comprendían que no vivían en un barrio apropiado para criar a un niño, pero no podían mudarse por factores como el costo de la vivienda, y la proximidad al trabajo o guarderías. Estudios futuros determinarán si programas de vivienda pueden ayudar a mitigar algunos de esos factores, y lograr un impacto positivo en el comportamiento infantil.

Los contribuyentes a este reportaje incluyen: Cyndy McGrath, Supervisora  Y Productora de Campo; Milvionne Chery, Productora Assistente; Roque Correa, Editor Y Camarografo.

Producido por Child Trends News Service en asocio con Ivanhoe Broadcast News y auspiciado por una beca de la National Science Foundation.