Get access

Neighborhood Disadvantage: Pathways of Effects for Young Children


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge Jean-Marie Berthelot for comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript and Yasmin Amaratunga, Laura Visentin, and Mary Sue Devereux for their assistance in manuscript preparation.

concerning this article should be addressed to Dafna E. Kohen, Information and Research Division, Statistics Canada, 24 R.H. Coats Building, 100 Tunney’s Pasture Driveway, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1A-0T6. Electronic mail may be sent to


The present study used Canadian National Longitudinal data to examine a model of the mechanisms through which the effects of neighborhood socioeconomic conditions impact young children’s verbal and behavioral outcomes (N= 3,528; M age = 5.05 years, SD= 0.86). Integrating elements of social disorganization theory and family stress models, and results from structural equation models suggest that both neighborhood and family mechanisms played an important role in the transmission of neighborhood socioeconomic effects. Neighborhood disadvantage manifested its effect via lower neighborhood cohesion, which was associated with maternal depression and family dysfunction. These processes were, in turn, related to less consistent, less stimulating, and more punitive parenting behaviors, and ultimately, poorer child outcomes.