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At the Intersection of Neighborhoods and Schools: Relationships as Moderators between Neighborhood and Children’s Social-Emotional Development

Research Team


Principal Investigator: Hannah Kerby

Co-Principal Investigators: Susan Sheridan

Funding Information

Funding Agency: Society for the Study of School Psychology

Award Date: Jan 15, 2021

End Date: Dec 31, 2021


Children who possess intrapersonal and interpersonal social-emotional skills in elementary school experience academic and personal success, whereas those who do not possess these skills experience short- and long-term adverse outcomes. Because these social-emotional skills enable children to succeed, it is crucial to understand factors associated with children’s positive social-emotional development. 

Using a risk and resilience perspective alongside ecological systems theory is necessary to understanding how ecological factors might put children at risk for developing poor social-emotional skills, while also considering how ecological factors, perhaps within the school setting, might protect children against this risk. 

This project is designed to explore the influence of the socioeconomic conditions of children’s residential neighborhoods on children’s social-emotional skills, and uncover the protective roles of teacher-student and parent-teacher relationships for children experiencing disadvantaged neighborhood socioeconomic conditions.

This project uses a sample of 234 second-graders and their parents and teachers participating in a federally funded study of early education practices. To measure the socioeconomic conditions of children’s neighborhoods, a validated index using U.S. Census data will be utilized. Parents and teachers provided ratings of the teacher-student relationship, parent-teacher relationship and children’s social-emotional skills. Identifying the protective effects of teacher-student and parent-teacher relationships may help pinpoint better ways for school psychologists to support the social-emotional development of children residing in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. 

Findings will be used to help ensure positive social-emotional development and boost resilience for children experiencing socioeconomic risk.

Social, Emotional and Behavioral Well-being, Early Childhood Education and Development

Hannah Kerby, doctoral candidate in school psychology, is exploring how children's social-emotional skills are influenced by their residential neighborhoods.
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