Do peer social relationships mediate the harmful effects of a housing mobility experiment on boys' risky behaviors?

Nicole M. Schmidt, Naomi Harada Thyden, Huiyun Kim, Theresa L. Osypuk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to understand why a housing mobility experiment caused harmful effects on adolescent boys' risky behaviors. Methods: Moving to Opportunity (MTO) (1994–2010) randomly assigned volunteer families to a treatment group receiving a Section 8 rental voucher or a public housing control group. Our outcome was a global risky behavior index (RBI; measured in 2002, n = 750 boys) measuring the fraction of 10 items the youth engaged in, 6 measuring past 30-day substance use and 4 measuring recent risky sexual behavior. Potential mediators (measured in 2002) included peer social relationships (e.g., peer drug use, peer gang membership). Results: The voucher treatment main effect on boys' RBI was harmful (B (SE) = 0.05 (0.02), 95% CI 0.01, 0.08), and treatment marginally increased having friends who used drugs compared to controls (B (SE) = 0.67 (0.23), 95% CI 0.22, 1.12). Having friends who used drugs marginally mediated the MTO treatment effect on RBI (indirect effect: B (SE) = 0.02(.01), 95% CI −0.002, 0.04), reducing the total treatment effect by 39%. Conclusions: Incorporating additional supports into housing voucher programs may help support teenage boys who experience disruptions to their social networks, to buffer potential adverse consequences of residential mobility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-42.e3
JournalAnnals of epidemiology
Volume48
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant 1R03HD082679 (Dr. Schmidt, PI) and 1R21AA024530 (Dr. Osypuk, PI). The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Minnesota Population Center (P2C HD041023) funded through a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The funders did not have any role in design or conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had no role in the analysis or the preparation of this manuscript. HUD reviewed the manuscript to ensure respondent confidentiality was maintained in the presentation of results. The authors have no conflicts of interest relevant to this article to disclose. Authors' contributions: Nicole M. Schmidt contributed to conceptualization, methodology, formal analysis, writing?original draft, visualization, project administration, and funding acquisition. Naomi H. Thyden contributed to validation, formal analysis, writing?review & editing, and visualization. Huiyun Kim contributed to validation, formal analysis, writing?review & editing. Theresa L. Osypuk contributed to writing?review & editing, supervision, resources, and funding acquisition.

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health grant 1R03HD082679 (Dr. Schmidt, PI) and 1R21AA024530 (Dr. Osypuk, PI). The authors gratefully acknowledge support from the Minnesota Population Center ( P2C HD041023 ) funded through a grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development . The funders did not have any role in design or conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis, and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) had no role in the analysis or the preparation of this manuscript. HUD reviewed the manuscript to ensure respondent confidentiality was maintained in the presentation of results.

Keywords

  • Adolescence
  • Mediation
  • Mobility
  • Peers
  • Public housing
  • Randomized controlled trial
  • Risky behaviors

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

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