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Community Programs to Promote Youth Development
involved in the community showed higher academic and peer success (Elder and Conger, 2000; Grotevant, 1998). Darling and Steinberg (1997) found similar results in a study of six communities in the San Francisco Bay area: they found that positive development was clearer in communities that had strong shared prosocial norms.
We also see it in the links between schools and communities. School programs that included one or more community program components have longer-lasting and larger effects on adolescent drug use and smoking than school programs alone (Dryfoos, 2000). Health messages that are reinforced through multiple settings, such as school, home, and health care facility, have greater effects than those delivered by only one source (Elster and Kuznets, 1994).
The opposite side of the coin is research showing that lack of integration among these settings is associated with more problem behavior in adolescents. Lack of communication and conflict between parent and school values are related to lower school achievement (Comer, 1988; Fisher et al., 1998; Peshkin, 1997; Romo and Falbo, 1996). Conflict between family values and community values is related to more adolescent problem behavior (Schwartz, 1987; Romo and Falbo, 1996). Part of the reason is that it is harder for parents to play a management role when they are out of touch with the other parts of adolescents’ lives. Among a Southeast Asian immigrant population in Minnesota, Detzner found that parents had difficulty asserting themselves with their adolescents in a social setting they did not understand. This appeared to be related to increases in delinquency, juvenile arrests, and gang activity among adolescents in the community (Grotevant, 1998; Hughes and Chen, 1999).
The potential for communication and integration varies widely across communities. Those that are small, are culturally homogeneous, and have more resources are likely to find it easier to maintain integration. It is a common observation that a sense of community is harder to achieve given the fast-paced, anonymous, culturally diverse, urban lifestyle that has taken over much of the United States. However, pessimism and passivity are not warranted. There are numerous examples of contemporary communities that have come together to establish communication, bridge differences, and find common ground for facilitating adolescent development (Benson, 1997; Damon, 1997; Dryfoos, 2000; Merry, 2000). Even when there are intransigent problems, parents can make a difference. Parents of middle-class black children often engage in deliberate strategies of “racial socialization” to help protect their chil-