disadvantage was associated with higher internalizing and externalizing problems over and above the genetic contribution (Caspi, Taylor, et al., 2000) and that an experimental study found that children whose families were moved from a disadvantaged neighborhood had a lower rate of arrest for a violent crime than those who remained in a high-poverty neighborhood (Leventhal and Brooks-Gunn, 2003).
Similarly, the strongest environmental association related to schizophrenia is urbanicity (Krabbendam and van Os, 2005), although the relation with social class is also strong. It appears that living in urban environments during childhood affects later development of schizophrenia, even if there is a move to less urban environments later in life (Pederson and Mortensen, 2001). This relationship is therefore not fully explained by the “drift” hypothesis, in which those who are developing schizophrenia move to urban settings. There are a few hypotheses that are being pursued to explain this relationship, including increased stress and discrimination against minorities, lack of social capital and other resources in impoverished communities, and gene–environment interactions.
Another way in which the community influences child development is through the norms, values, and beliefs of the residents. For example, collective efficacy, a concept developed by Sampson, Raudenbush, and Earls (1997), refers to “shared beliefs in a neighborhood’s conjoint capability for action to achieve an intended effect, and hence an active sense of engagement on the part of residents.” It provides the informal social controls that counteract antisocial behavior and has been found to be related to levels of community violence (Sampson, 2001). Peer norms favoring the use of drugs, antisocial behavior, or belonging to gangs are also powerful neighborhood factors that contribute to problem behaviors.
Hawkins and Catalano (1992) proposed the construct of bonding to school, community, and family as key in explaining the development of substance use and antisocial behavior. Positive bonds consist of a positive relationship, commitment, and belief about what is healthy and ethical behavior. Positive bonds to a group develop from having the opportunity to be an active contributor, having the skills to be successful, and receiving recognition and reinforcement for their behavior.
In school, students’ relationships with their peers and teachers and the social climate in the classroom have a powerful effect on their development of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems as well as their development of age-appropriate competencies. For example, aggregate-level student-perceived norms favoring substance use, violence, or academic achievement are related to antisocial behavior. For boys with elevated levels of externalizing problems, being in a first grade classroom with high aggregate levels of behavior problems has been found to be associated with a marked increase in the odds of having serious externalizing problems when they reached the