Relevant social and spatial contexts for elementary school children: An examination of multiple scales

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Abstract

This study examined direct area-level effects of 4 common child well-being outcomes across multiple scales of residential and school neighborhoods to identify relevant contexts for measuring neighborhood effects on elementary school children. Results from growth curve models indicate that neighborhoods operationalized as residential and school census tracts exerted similar effect sizes while neighborhoods operationalized as school attendance zones showed attenuated effects. These results suggest that it may be reasonable to interchange residential and school census tracts when examining contextual effects on child well-being. In addition, results suggest that school attendance zones represent conservative, theoretically sound neighborhoods for elementary school children.

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