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Neighborhood Risk and Interpersonal Support as Predictors of Parents’ Sense of Community


Parents’ sense of community (SOC) may ease the impact of neighborhood risk on children’s outcomes, but not all parents feel part of a trusted community. In this study, we examined whether parents’ ratings of neighborhood risk and interpersonal support were related to their SOC, and whether interpersonal support moderated the relationship between neighborhood risk and parents’ SOC. Participants included 161 parents (M = 40.25 years; 92.3% female) of minor children who were enrolled in youth mentoring programs. Results indicated that greater interpersonal support and less neighborhood risk was associated with parents’ SOC. Post-hoc analyses showed that living in a neighborhood with gangs and illegal drugs, but not residential instability or living in public housing, was a salient risk factor for lower SOC. Contrary to our prediction, interpersonal support did not moderate the link between neighborhood risk and parents’ SOC. These findings may inform interventions designed to bolster parents’ connectedness to community and ability to promote children’s positive development.


  • Parents’ sense of community (SOC) has been linked to the health and well-being of children and families.

  • We replicated previous research suggesting parents’ SOC is diminished in the face of neighborhood risk, particularly a neighborhood with gangs and illegal drugs.

  • Parents’ level of interpersonal support, however, was a significant, positive predictor of parents’ SOC.

  • Our findings help clarify the factors that promote and detract from parents’ SOC.

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This project was supported by a Grant-in-Aid Artistry and Scholarship program award (PI: Weiler, #89169) from the University of Minnesota.

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Correspondence to Sarah A. Burcher.

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The authors declare no competing interests.

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All procedures were approved by the researchers’ Institutional Review Board.

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Participants completed an online consent form prior to completing the Qualtrics survey.

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Burcher, S.A., Weiler, L.M., Keyzers, A. et al. Neighborhood Risk and Interpersonal Support as Predictors of Parents’ Sense of Community. J Child Fam Stud 30, 1476–1486 (2021).

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  • Parents
  • Sense of Community
  • Neighborhood Risk
  • Interpersonal Support