The Direct and Indirect Psychosocial Consequences of Neighborhood Disadvantage on Cognitive Development: A Novel Application of the Parametric G-Formula

Nick Graetz , University of Pennsylvania
Courtney Boen, University of Pennsylvania
Irma T. Elo, University of Pennsylvania

In studying the effects of neighborhood disadvantage on child development, many analyses find small or negligible associations upon controlling for contemporary characteristics known to vary over age. However, some proportion of the effect of place on child development is expected to operate indirectly through other characteristics that may have varying or cumulative effects over time, such as parental income, quality of schooling, housing security, exposure to violence, and other stressors. The present study seeks to disentangle the direct and indirect effects of neighborhood exposures throughout childhood on cognitive development. Taking advantage of the prospective cohort design of the Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study, we employ the parametric g-formula to address issues of time-varying confounding. By studying the ways in which disadvantage develops both directly and indirectly over time, we add to the literature on geographic disparities in child development and methods for longitudinal analysis in life-course research.

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 Presented in Session 212. Neighborhood Influences on Children and Youth