Background Influence

Social cohesion

Social cohesion involves people trusting and supporting each other in the neighborhood. It is a critical factor for neighborhoods striving to raise children successfully.1 In socially cohesive neighborhoods, people can depend on each other for help when they need it. They can maintain norms for positive social behavior in the neighborhood and can support each other in guiding children and adolescents. They can come together to solve problems that could not be solved by one person. Examples include a neighbor intervening when a child is alone, helping other parents when they are overwhelmed, or taking collective action to support children and families in the neighborhood. Families with supportive neighbors can get occasional help with their young child. Families with young children can feel comfortable getting to know each other and helping each other with their young children.

Neighborhoods can build social cohesion by encouraging people to meet at pleasant activities, such as block parties, by recognizing the contributions that people make to each other, and by publicizing people's contributions to the neighborhood. Anything that increases positive communication can help.


Related Interventions




  1. Sampson, T.J., Morenoff, J.D., & Gannon-Rowley, T. (2002). Assessing "neighborhood effects": Social processes and new directions in research. Annual Review of Sociology, 28, 443-478.