Get access

Racial Identity From Adolescence to Young Adulthood: Does Prior Neighborhood Experience Matter?


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Deborah Rivas-Drake, Education Department, Brown University, Box 1938, Providence, RI 02912. Electronic mail may be sent to


This study examined the influence of earlier neighborhood experiences on trajectories of racial centrality and regard among Black youth. Data were drawn from a sample of Black 11- to 14-year-old youth (N = 718) in the Maryland Adolescent Development in Context Study, a data set that permits the examination of structural and subjective neighborhood influences. Results suggest that centrality increases, whereas public regard remains relatively stable, across the transition to adulthood. Seventh graders who resided in neighborhoods in which adults were less willing to intervene or respond to problematic situations reported lower public regard in 11th grade. In addition, the trajectory of private regard varied according to the types of neighborhoods youth experienced in early adolescence.