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PTSD and parental functioning: The protective role of neighborhood cohesion among black and white veterans

APA Citation:

Franz, M. R., Sanders, W., Nillni, Y. I., Vogt, D., Matteo, R., & Galovski, T. (2022). PTSD and parental functioning: The protective role of neighborhood cohesion among Black and White veterans. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 14(S1), S4-S12. https://doi.org/10.1037/tra0001123

Abstract Created by REACH:

According to the Conservation of Resources Theory, people who face barriers to accessing resources, such as racial minorities or single parents, may be at risk of poorer well-being. This study examined whether neighborhood cohesion (i.e., mutual, trusting, supportive relationships with neighbors) is a resource that mitigates the negative effects of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) on Veterans’ parental functioning (e.g., managing stressors, discipline). This study also examined whether these associations vary by race (i.e., Black, White) and parenting status (i.e., single parents, dual parents). 563 Veteran parents completed baseline questionnaires and follow-up questionnaires 4 months later. High neighborhood cohesion was a protective factor against the negative effects of PTSD on parental functioning for single Black parents.



Branch of Service:

Multiple branches

Military Affiliation:


Subject Affiliation:



Adulthood (18 yrs & older)
Young adulthood (18 - 29 yrs)
Thirties (30 - 39 yrs)
Middle age (40 - 64 yrs)


Quantitative study
Longitudinal Study


Franz, Molly R., Sanders, Wesley, Nillni, Yael I., Vogt, Dawne, Matteo, Rebecca, Galovski, Tara


Objective: Caregivers with a history of trauma exposure may struggle to parent effectively, particularly when symptoms of PTSD are prominent. Consequently, identifying factors that buffer associations between PTSD and poor parental functioning is critical to help trauma-exposed families thrive. One important source of resilience may spring from being part of a socially cohesive neighborhood that offers positive social connections and resources. The purpose of this study was to examine whether greater neighborhood cohesion buffers associations between PTSD and perceived parental functioning. Method: A diverse national sample of 563 Black and White veterans raising children in single or dual parent households completed questionnaires assessing PTSD symptoms and neighborhood cohesion at baseline, as well as parental functioning four months later. Results: Multigroup moderation analyses that controlled for crime index, income, and sex revealed that among single Black veterans, but not other groups, the relationship between higher PTSD and poorer parental functioning was weakened for veterans who reported higher neighborhood cohesion. Conclusions: Findings suggest that PTSD symptoms and neighborhood cohesion affect parenting differently across racial and family makeup configurations, and that higher neighborhood cohesion might be particularly useful in buffering the association between PTSD and parenting among single Black veterans. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Publisher/Sponsoring Organization:

American Psychological Association

Publication Type:

REACH Publication

Author Affiliation:

Department of Psychology, University of Maryland, MF
Harvard Medical School, WS
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, YN
U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, DV


posttraumatic stress disorder, parenting, veterans, social connections, social support

View Research Summary:

REACH Publication Type:

Research Summary


National Institute of Mental Health
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

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