Relationship Between Neighborhood Poverty and Externalizing Symptoms in Children: Mediation and Moderation by Environmental Factors and Brain Structure
WashU Affiliated Authors: Megan Y. Maxwell (Dept. of Psychological & Brain Sciences), Rita L. Taylor (Dept. of Psychological & Brain Sciences), Deanna M. Barch (Dept. of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Psychiatry, and Radiology)
Abstract: Children living in poverty exhibit worse mental health outcomes, and various environmental and neurological risk factors may contribute to or mitigate this relationship. However, previous research has not examined the interplay of neighborhood SES, mental health, and relevant mechanisms. We examined the extent to which neighborhood poverty uniquely contributes to children’s internalizing/externalizing disorder symptoms, as well as identified whether brain measures, toxin levels, and neighborhood threat mediated this relationship and whether socioemotional support moderated it. Data were collected from 8623 9–10 year olds as part of the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development study. Using a secondary data analysis, we found that neighborhood poverty was positively associated with externalizing symptoms and mediated by reduced intracranial volume and parents/children reporting feeling less safe. Parental support (i.e., Parental Monitoring Survey) attenuated this link, but only for children lower in poverty. Consideration of these risk factors for psychopathology could improve the outcome of holistic interventions.
Citation: Maxwell, M.Y., Taylor, R.L. & Barch, D.M. Relationship Between Neighborhood Poverty and Externalizing Symptoms in Children: Mediation and Moderation by Environmental Factors and Brain Structure. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10578-022-01369-w