Neighborhood Crime and School Climate as Predictors of Elementary School Academic Quality: A Cross-Lagged Panel Analysis

Abstract

Past research has found negative relationships between neighborhood structural disadvantage and students’ academic outcomes. Comparatively little work has evaluated the associations between characteristics of neighborhoods and schools themselves. This study explored the longitudinal, reciprocal relationships between neighborhood crime and school-level academic achievement within 500 urban schools. Results revealed that higher neighborhood crime (and particularly violent crime) predicted decreases in school academic achievement across time. School climate emerged as one possible mechanism within this relationship, with higher neighborhood crime predicting decreases in socioemotional learning and safety, but not academic rigor. All three dimensions of school climate were predictive of changes in academic achievement. Although this research supports a primarily unidirectional hypothesis of neighborhoods’ impacts on embedded settings, additional work is needed to understand these relationships using additional conceptualizations of neighborhood climate.

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Correspondence to Dana Charles McCoy.

Appendix

Appendix

See Fig. 5.

Fig. 5
figure5

Transactional relationships between neighborhood violent crime, school climate of safety and respect, and school-level academic achievement across 3 years. Notes For ease of presentation, covariates, indirect pathways, non-significant direct pathways, and correlations between within-year variable residuals not shown. All parameters unstandardized. Neighborhood violent crime square root transformed. + p < .10, *p < .05, **p < .01

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McCoy, D.C., Roy, A.L. & Sirkman, G.M. Neighborhood Crime and School Climate as Predictors of Elementary School Academic Quality: A Cross-Lagged Panel Analysis. Am J Community Psychol 52, 128–140 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10464-013-9583-5

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Keywords

  • Crime
  • Neighborhoods
  • School climate
  • Social disorganization