Neighborhood Deprivation during Early Childhood and Conduct Problems in Middle Childhood: Mediation by Aggressive Response Generation
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The tremendous negative impact of conduct problems to the individual and society has provided the impetus for identifying risk factors, particularly in early childhood. Exposure to neighborhood deprivation in early childhood is a robust predictor of conduct problems in middle childhood. Efforts to identify and test mediating mechanisms by which neighborhood deprivation confers increased risk for behavioral problems have predominantly focused on peer relationships and community-level social processes. Less attention has been dedicated to potential cognitive mediators of this relationship, such as aggressive response generation, which refers to the tendency to generate aggressive solutions to ambiguous social stimuli with negative outcomes. In this study, we examined aggressive response generation, a salient component of social information processing, as a mediating process linking neighborhood deprivation to later conduct problems at age 10.5. Participants (N = 731; 50.5 % male) were drawn from a multisite randomized prevention trial that includes an ethnically diverse and low-income sample of male and female children and their primary caregivers followed prospectively from toddlerhood to middle childhood. Results indicated that aggressive response generation partially mediated the relationship between neighborhood deprivation and parent- and teacher-report of conduct problems, but not youth-report. Results suggest that the detrimental effects of neighborhood deprivation on youth adjustment may occur by altering the manner in which children process social information.
KeywordsConduct problems Social information processing Neighborhood deprivation Middle childhood
We wish to thank the families for participation in the study and the research staff for their help with data collection and management. This research was supported by grants DA022773, DA023245, and DA036832 awarded to Daniel S. Shaw, Thomas J. Dishion, and Melvin N. Wilson and grant DA025640 awarded to Daniel S. Shaw from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This work was also supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to Chardée A. Galán.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.
Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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