The Neighborhood Context of Immigrant Families' Child Care Selection and Child Well-Being.
Abstract: This dissertation explores how immigrant status, neighborhoods,
child care, and parenting contribute to young children's behavioral functioning and
pre-literacy skills. Taking a relational developmental systems theories perspective,
neighborhoods are considered as a primary setting through which differences arise between
immigrant and non-immigrant children in the U.S. Four studies ... read moreexamine different aspects of
the role of neighborhoods for immigrant families. The first study draws on data from the
ethnographic component of Welfare, Children, and Families: A Three City Study to document
child care perceptions among immigrant mothers, as well as the processes through which
neighborhoods shape child care decisions. The remaining three studies use data from the
three-year-old cohort (N = 999) of the Project on Human Development in Chicago
Neighborhoods, a neighborhood-based, longitudinal study. With these data, the second study
compares immigrant and non-immigrant families' use of child care as a function of their
neighborhood characteristics. The third study examines how both neighborhoods and child
care are associated with four specific parenting behaviors (warmth, harshness,
developmental stimulation, and physical aggression), again comparing immigrant and
non-immigrant families. Finally, the fourth study builds on findings from the earlier
studies to understand the ways in which neighborhoods, child care experiences, and
parenting behaviors are linked with immigrant and non-immigrant children's early outcomes.
Results are discussed with respect to each of the four studies, and also are integrated
across studies to inform an overarching perspective on the importance of neighborhoods for
immigrant families. Qualitative findings suggest that neighborhood networks of support
assist immigrant parents in overcoming structural barriers to access center-based child
care programs. Quantitative findings suggest that after accounting for family and
neighborhood characteristics, immigrant and non-immigrant families are very similar in
their use of center-based child care programs, parenting strategies, and children's
outcomes. However, immigrants appear to be particularly sensitive to neighborhood
conditions, with availability of neighborhood services promoting warm parenting behaviors
among immigrant parents, and the density of neighborhood friend and kin networks
contributing to the use of center-based child care among immigrant
Thesis (Ph.D.)--Tufts University, 2015.
Submitted to the Dept. of Child Development.
Advisor: Tama Leventhal.
Committee: Christine McWayne, Helen Marrow, and Shireen Riley.
Keywords: Individual & family studies, Early childhood education, and Social research.read less