CHICAGO, Dec. 5 (Xinhua) -- A study by researchers at the University of Michigan (UM), Pennsylvania State University and California State University-Northridge suggests a complex relation between neighborhood social dynamics and a change in youths' grade point average during middle school.
Neighborhoods rich in resources and cohesion may transfer similar positive processes to the schools. That is, teens living in the most "positive" neighborhoods had better grades than counterparts living in risky neighborhoods, the researchers said.
Researchers examined the extent that exposure to certain neighborhoods supported or inhibited academic achievement among African-American teens in 7th and 8th grades. The sample included 723 African-American families who completed surveys. Nearly 60 percent of parents reported that they were married.
Caregivers described their neighborhood based on safety, such as racial tensions, vandalism and drug use; informal social control, which involves the perception that neighbors would intervene to stop bad situations; cohesion and trust, such as sharing similar views with others; and resource availability, including after-school programs.
Youths in the cohesive and supported environments had higher academic achievement than counterparts living in a mixed neighborhood of low safety but positive relationships, the study indicated.
The study has been published in the Journal of Black Psychology.