Perceptions of Neighborhood Collective Efficacy Moderate the Impact of Maltreatment on Aggression
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This study examined the moderating influence of positive neighborhood factors such as social cohesion and informal social control (collective efficacy), on the relationship between child maltreatment and aggressive behavior at age 12. Caregiver (N = 861) and youth (N = 823) dyads were interviewed when youth were aged 12 as part of a longitudinal study of child abuse and neglect (LONGSCAN). Caregivers and youth provided reports of youth externalizing behaviors while caregivers provided perceptions of collective efficacy. Child Protective Services records and youth's self-report of abuse experiences provided information on history of maltreatment. Multivariate analyses examined the moderating effect of collective efficacy on the influence of child abuse and neglect on youth externalizing behaviors. Neighborhood factors did moderate the association between earlier neglect and aggression at age 12, such that youth who experienced neglect, but not abuse, had lower externalizing scores in neighborhoods with higher levels of collective efficacy. Neighborhood-level factors such as collective efficacy should be considered as protective in preventing externalizing behaviors for youth who have experienced maltreatment.
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