Researchers have long suspected that neighborhoods can be a source of risk or protection for child well-being. A new Rutgers study supports this assumption and finds that when parents feel higher levels of stress or hopelessness about their surroundings, they may have a more difficult time caring for their children.
“To get the best outcomes for kids and to elicit the best parenting, families need a safe, stable, stimulating environment, both at home and in the surrounding community,” said Katherine Marcal, an assistant professor at the Rutgers School of Social Work and coauthor of the study published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect. “But if you live in a neighborhood where you can’t go outside, can’t go to a park or can’t walk down the sidewalk because there are drug dealers or trash, then families are cooped up in stressful conditions. This stress can make maltreatment more likely to occur.” To read the full story.