Neighborhood Disadvantage and Perceptions of Social Support among Adolescents

Sapna Swaroop, University of Chicago
Michelle Pannor Silver, University of Chicago
Kathleen A. Cagney, University of Chicago

This study examines how adolescents evaluate the quality of social support available from their family and friends in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. We utilize data from multiple components of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods for these analyses. Our results demonstrate that, net of individual characteristics, there is no association between residence in a disadvantaged neighborhood and adolescents’ perceptions of family support, but that adolescents living in disadvantaged neighborhoods report less support from their friends compared to their counterparts in better-off neighborhoods. Neighborhood social organization, here measured as the amount of trust and commonality residents feel with one another, is unrelated to perceptions of friend or family support for adolescents. Rather, the behavioral composition of adolescents’ social networks (e.g., pro-social versus anti-social) is related to perceptions of friend support and accounts for the negative relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and perceived friend support.

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Presented in Poster Session 7