Psychological sense of community (SOC) has been examined minimally among the youth of color, and as a mediating variable, as well as construct implicated in promoting wellness. Using data from a sample of 401 students of color (M age = 16.55, standard deviation = 1.31; 54.7% female; 57% Hispanic/Latina[o]) from an underserved northeastern US urban community, we examined the mediating relationship of psychological SOC between social support, participation in youth-based community programs, and outcomes including school belongingness, risk behaviors such as substance use and violent behavior, and psychological symptoms, including depression. Results indicated that access to social supports and youth-based community programs was negatively associated with risk behaviors and experiencing depressive symptoms, through both psychological SOC and school belongingness. Implications include the need for community-based activities for youth that not only foster support but encourage a positive psychological SOC and in-turn offset negative developmental trajectories and risk behaviors.
- developmental outcomes
- ecological supports
- psychological sense of community
- youth of color