Race as a Moderator of Neighborhood Home Ownership and Adolescent Externalizing Problems



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Theories and research on mental health disparities among adolescents suggest that non-White people groups are exposed to an unequal burden of stress. One factor that contributes to this unequal burden of stress is neighborhood quality, which is related to neighborhood home ownership rates among non-White families. The literature indicates that home ownership is a protective factor for adolescent development; however, research is mixed, and home ownership may not equally benefit all people groups. From an ecological perspective the relationships between neighborhood home ownership, race, and adolescent externalizing problems were examined. In particular, race was evaluated as a moderator of the relationship between neighborhood home ownership and adolescent externalizing problems (inattention/hyperactivity) and, in contrast, personal adjustment. Participants were adolescent males, ages ranged from 12 to 17 years old, who had been receiving counseling for a sexual offense in or within the suburbs of a large city in the southern United States. The results of the multivariate analysis of variance indicate that race moderates the relationship between percent home ownership and adolescent externalizing problems. Scores of inattention/ hyperactivity were highest among Black adolescent males in the group with the highest percent home ownership. This particular result suggests that neighborhoods with higher home ownership rates may not equally benefit all racial groups. The relationship between percent home ownership and inattention/ hyperactivity for Hispanic and White adolescent males suggested that higher home ownership rates are protective. Specifically, groups with higher percent home ownership had lower inattention/ hyperactivity scores. There were also differences between racial groups in relationship between percent home ownership and personal adjustment scores, but they were at a trend level. In particular, Black participants living in neighborhoods in the average-range of percent home ownership had the highest scores on personal adjustment. Clinical and social policy implications are discussed.



Mental health disparities, Mental health, Home ownership