Research Paper

The Effects of Community-based Organizations on Immigrant Youth Adjustment
Dina Okamoto (Affiliate in Sociology) with graduate student researchers Dan Herda (Sociology) and Cassie Hartzog (Sociology)

In this project, Research Affiliate Dina Okamoto extends prior research on immigrant youth adaptation by examining whether the presence of community-based organizations (CBOs) within neighborhoods serves to protect immigrant youth from risk behaviors.


Drawing upon Sampson’s theory of community-level theory of social disorganization which argues that community social structure facilitates social relations and social capital, and improves health and adaptation outcomes among children and adolescents, regardless of the characteristics of children and families, researchers argue that CBOs serving ethnics, immigrants, and youth are local institutions that are part of this community social structure that facilitates positive outcomes for immigrant youth. 

To test these theoretical ideas, researchers merged ethnic, immigrant, and youth CBO data with youth samples from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN).  Using multilevel models, they find that the number of immigrant and youth organizations within a neighborhood decreases delinquency and aggression for immigrant youth, which suggests that youth well-being is impacted by the social ecology of their neighborhoods.  They also find that these effects are not attenuated by collective efficacy, concentrated poverty, and immigrant concentration which suggests that the effects of CBOs on immigrant youth adjustment are not working through these mechanisms.