This study tested a neighborhood-level approach to the informal social control of children.
Data were drawn from a multilevel assessment of 80 neighborhoods in Chicago. The results showed that: (1) informal social control can be measured reliably at the neighborhood level; (2) three dimensions of neighborhood structure--concentrated poverty, ethnicity/immigration and residential stability--explained significant amounts of variation in child social control; and (3) informal social control mediated 50 percent of the effect of residential stability on rates of adolescent delinquency. Even after adjusting for prior levels of crime in the neighborhood, informal social control emerged as a significant inhibitor of adolescent delinquency. The collective social control of children is an important construct that should be added to theoretical accounts and research projects that stress social regulation in families. Tables, notes, references