Social Connections in the Inner City: Examination across the Life Course

Margaret E Ensminger, Hee-Soon Juon, Rosalyn Lee, Sophia Y Lo


Social connectedness has been shown to be related to health and well-being, yet there is little knowledge about its developmental and intergenerational origins.  We examine the childhood, family, and neighborhood origins of social connectedness in young adulthood in a cohort of African American children (N=1242) from Chicago followed since 1966.  The five measures of social connections are:  political involvement, organizational membership, church involvement, family ties, and friend ties.  In multivariate analyses, predictors of social connectedness were found across the life course:  first grade social adaptation to school, childhood family resources, family social participation, adult neighborhood characteristics, social class, and marital status.   We conclude that adult social connections have roots in childhood behavior and social involvement, family resources and family social connections as well as one’s own resources and the neighborhood where one lives. 


Life Course Study; Longitudinal Research; Social Connections; African American; Intergenerational; multi-Level; Neighborhood; Social Class; Family; Social Adaptation;

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