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How Changing Neighborhood and School Contexts Shape Mental Health and Educational Attainment from Childhood to Early Adulthood

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Our study combines family and student data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) with over three decades of neighborhood and school administrative data to examine how neighborhood and school contexts independently and jointly shape mental health and educational attainment in childhood and early adults. Our study, focusing on the effects of racial/ethnic segregation, has two main scientific innovations: 1) we incorporate a local measure of spatial segregation (clustering), which we calculate uniquely for each neighborhood and school; and 2) we incorporate a historical framework to explore how past neighborhood and school histories (e.g., changes in racial/ethnic segregation over time, and whether both contexts change differentially or similarly) are associated with the health and education outcomes of current students. We further examine whether effects vary by student race/ethnicity. Finally, we explore variation between metropolitan areas to determine if the influence of local contexts is stronger in regions where there is greater racial and economic inequality.

Role: Co-Investigator (PI: Jennifer Candipan, Brown University)

Funding Agency: Spencer Foundation Large Grant Program