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Social Capital and Children's Development: A randomized controlled trial conducted in 52 schools in Phoenix and San Antonio, 2008-2015

Resource Type
Dataset : administrative records data, observational data, survey data
  • Gamoran, Adam
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Publication Date
Publication Place
Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
Free Keywords
Schema: ICPSR
academic achievement; acculturation; behavior problems; classroom environment; educational administrators; mathematics; parental attitudes; parents; reading ability; school attendance; schools; social capital; student behavior; teacher attitudes; teacher participation
  • Abstract

    The Social Capital and Children's Development data were collected in a study of the causal effects of social capital on levels and inequalities of children's social and cognitive development during the early elementary years. The study included 52 schools in Phoenix and San Antonio, including 3,084 first graders and their families, and over 200 teachers, with half the schools randomly selected for the intervention and half serving as controls. Children from low-income Latino families were a special focus of the study. The experimental design of this study allowed for testing of the causal role of social capital. Social capital here refers to trust and shared expectations embedded in social networks of parents, teachers, and children. For young children, social capital operates primarily through their relationships with their parents, enhancing development through mechanisms of social support and social control. The research design was experimental: social capital was manipulated through a well-tested randomized intervention, Families and Schools Together (FAST), that enhanced social capital among parents, teachers, and children through an intensive after-school program and a 2-year follow-up program. FAST is intended to reduce parental isolation, enhance family engagement with schools, and strengthen family functioning; that is, to increase social capital between families and schools, among families, and within families to improve children's education and life-long outcomes. Key aspects of child development were assessed, including (a) social skills and problem behavior from standardized behavioral ratings by parents and teachers, and (b) grade retention, attendance rates, and third-grade reading and mathematics scores from school records. Social capital was measured with repeated surveys of teachers and parents that address the extent of social networks, parent involvement, trust, and shared expectations among parents, between parents and schools, and between parents and children. Demographic variables of this study include native language, years in the United States, date of birth/age, race/ethnicity, gender, and household composition.
  • Abstract

    The goal of this study was to measure the causal effects of social capital on levels and inequalities of children's social and cognitive development during the early elementary years.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Performed consistency checks.; Created variable labels and/or value labels.; Created online analysis version with question text.; Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Methods

    Presence of Common Scales: The study measured three aspects of social capital: intergenerational closure, shared expectations, and relational trust. The various strands of social capital are measured at four time points in parent surveys. These survey items, and other items measuring parent-teacher relationships and parent-school social capital, are adapted from three sources: FAST National pre-and post parent surveys, Shumow, Vandel and Kang (1996) and Bryk and Schneider (2002). Measures of children's socioemotional behavior come from parent reports and teacher reports through a series of questions from the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) (Goodman 1997). This widely used instrument for assessing social adjustment and behavior problems taps five dimensions of psychological functioning: emotional symptoms, behavior problems, hyperactivity/inattention, peer relationship problems, and prosocial behavior. Parents were asked to provide information about acculturation by responding to the Abbreviated Multidimensional Acculturation Scale (AMAS; Zea, Asner-Self, Birman, and Buki, 2003). This measure assumes that acculturation is a process by which individuals retain characteristics of the culture of origin while simultaneously acquiring characteristics of the new culture. It consists of three subscales: cultural competence, language competence, and ethnic identity. The AMAS was developed in English and Spanish and has appropriate psychometric properties with both United States-born and immigrant populations (Zea et al., 2003). In addition to the AMAS, the study assessed language preference by tracking parents' requests to complete the pre-test survey in English or Spanish. Participants were asked to report their length of residence in the United States on a scale of 0-5 years, 6-10 years, and 11 or more years. Length of residence is a common marker of acculturation (Harris, Firestone, and Vega, 2005; Schwartz, Pantin, Sullivan, Prado, and Szapocznik, 2006). Parental depression was measured using a reliable brief depression measure designed to reduce burden to participants during data collection, the Patient Health Questionnaire-2 (PHQ-2) to assess parents' depressive symptoms because of its high construct and criterion validity with other depression measures and with measures of functional status (Kroenk, Spitzer, and Williams, 2003; Mitchell and Coyne, 2007). The PHQ-2 is comprised of two items that assess the frequency of anhedonia and depressed mood in the past 2 weeks, both commonly considered as the cardinal symptoms of depression. Finally, children's academic outcomes were measured using third grade state exam test scores. Raw test scores and scale scores were collected from the school districts in San Antonio and Phoenix. Additionally the study included the scores converted to percentiles, z-scores, normal curve equivalents, and a score standardized by control group (i.e., participants in the comparison treatment condition) means by language and site.
  • Methods

    Response Rates: Just below 60 percent of first-grade families consented to participate in the study.
  • Abstract


    • DS0: Study-Level Files
    • DS1: FAST Year 1 (Public Use)
    • DS2: FAST Year 1 (Restricted Use)
    • DS3: FAST Year 2 (Public Use)
    • DS4: FAST Year 3 (Public Use)
    • DS5: FAST Year 3 (Restricted Use)
    • DS6: FAST Attendance Data (Public Use)
    • DS7: FAST Administrative Data (Public Use)
    • DS8: FAST Administrative Data (Restricted Use)
    • DS9: FASTWORKS Attendance Data (Public Use)
    • DS10: FAST Year 5 (Public Use)
    • DS11: FAST Year 5 (Restricted Use)
    • DS12: FAST Years Combined (Public Use)
    • DS13: FAST Years Combined (Restricted Use)
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 2008--2015
  • 2008 / 2015
  • Collection date: 2008--2015
  • 2008 / 2015
Geographic Coverage
  • Arizona
  • Phoenix
  • San Antonio
  • Texas
  • United States
Sampled Universe
First grade students and their parents in 52 elementary schools in Phoenix, AZ and San Antonio, TX. Smallest Geographic Unit: City
This cluster-randomized controlled trial assigned 52 elementary schools in San Antonio, TX, and Phoenix, AZ, to FAST (n = 26) and no FAST (n = 26). Participants were 3,084 parents, 52.1 percent (n = 1,607) from San Antonio and 47.9 percent (n = 1,477) from Phoenix, whose first grade child was enrolled in a study school. Cities and school districts were selected because they had effective social service agencies with histories of implementing FAST, the school district population included high proportions of low income Latino families, and they agreed to participate in the study (districts agreed to allow schools to be randomly assigned to treatment status). Schools were selected by the school districts. Districts were asked to invite the principals of Title 1 schools with at least 25 percent Latino students (during the 2007/2008 school year) to attend a meeting where they were informed about the study and invited to consent to participate. Principals who attended the meeting consented to participate, but not every principal who was invited to the meeting actually attended. In a few cases, insufficient principals attended or the schools did not meet the criteria for inclusion, and the district was asked to recruit additional schools. Students and families were selected based on enrollment in first grade at a study school during the first year of the study for that school (2008-2009 for Cohort 1; 2009-2010 for Cohort 2). All first grade students/families were eligible so long as they consented to participate in the study. Seventy-six percent of the sample was Latino, with other minority groups represented at lower levels: 8 percent African American, 1.6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, and 1.3 percent American Indian. There were no statistically significant differences between recruitment rates across the FAST and comparison schools. Over 68 percent (N = 2,041) of parents completed post-test surveys. In Phoenix, 50 percent were born outside of the United States and 57 percent spoke Spanish as their native language. In San Antonio, 24 percent of parents were born outside of the United States and 31 percent spoke Spanish as their native language.
Collection Mode
  • coded on-site observation
  • mail questionnaire
  • paper and pencil interview (PAPI)
  • on-site questionnaire
  • telephone interview
2019-08-26 Public and restricted-use versions of FAST Year 5 and FAST Years Combined data have been included in this update. Funding institution(s): United States Department of Health and Human Services. National Institutes of Health. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (R01HD051762).
One or more files in this study are not available for download due to special restrictions; consult the study documentation to learn more on how to obtain the data.
Alternative Identifiers
  • 35481 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR35481.v2
  • Vink, Alicia. Influence of Administrators Support on Third Grade Student Behavior in Schools. Dissertation, Walden University. 2019.
  • Rangel, David E., Valdez, Carmen R.. A culturally sensitive approach to large-scale prevention studies: A case study of a randomized controlled trial with low-income Latino communities. Journal of Primary Prevention.38, (6), 627-645.2017.
    • ID: 10.1007/s10935-017-0487-2 (DOI)
  • Turley, Ruth N.L., Gamoran, Adam, McCarty, Alyn Turner, Fish, Rachel. Reducing children's behavior problems through social capital: A causal assessment. Social Science Research.61, 206-217.2017.
    • ID: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2016.06.015 (DOI)
  • Miller, Hannah, Valentine, Jessa L., Fish, Rachel, Robinson, Michelle. Is the feeling mutual? Examining parent-teacher relationships in low-income, predominantly Latino schools. American Journal of Education.123, (1), 37-67.2016.
    • ID: 10.1086/688167 (DOI)
  • Rangel, David E.. Parental Relationships and Social Capital in the School-Community Context: A Multiple Method Study with Under-resourced Mexican-origin Families. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2016.
  • Seid, Kevin. The Influence of Native Language, Ethnicity, Gender, and Parental Depression on Attendance of the Families and Schools Together (FAST) Program. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2016.
  • Benavides, Luis X.. Teacher Retention and Student Achievement: Environmental Factors, Social Capital and Interventions in Urban, Predominantly Latino Schools. Thesis, Loyola University Chicago. 2015.
  • Shoji, Megan N.. Nice to Meet You? Exploring the Development of Parent-School Connections in Low-Income Latino Communities. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2014.
  • Bohlig, Amanda J.. The Effect of Neighborhood Disadvantage, Stability, and Ethnic Homogeneity on Depressive Symptoms: A Multilevel Analysis of a Predominantly Latino Sample. Dissertation, University of Wisconsin-Madison. 2013.
  • Fiel, Jeremy E., Haskins, Anna R., Turley, Ruth N.L.. Reducing school mobility: A randomized trial of a relationship-building intervention. American Educational Research Journal.50, (6), 1188-1218.2013.
    • ID: 10.3102/0002831213499962 (DOI)
  • Valdez, Carmen R., Padilla, Brian, Valentine, Jessa L.. Consequences of Arizona's immigration policy on social capital among Mexican mothers with unauthorized immigration status. Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences.35, (3), 303-322.2013.
    • ID: 10.1177/0739986313488312 (DOI)
  • Gamoran, Adam, Turley, Ruth N.L., Turner, Alyn, Fish, Rachel. Differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic families in social capital and child development: First-year findings from an experimental study. Research in Social Stratification and Mobility.30, (1), 97-112.2012.
    • ID: 10.1016/j.rssm.2011.08.001 (DOI)
  • Turley, Ruth N.L.. Causal Effects of Social Capital on Child Outcomes. 2012 Conference of the Research Committee on Social Stratification (RC28).Hong Kong, People's Republic of China (SAR). 2012.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Gamoran, Adam, Turley, Ruth L., Turner, Alyn, Fish, Rachel. Effects of a Multi-Family Intervention on Social Capital and Child Outcomes. 2011 SREE Conference.Evanston, IL. 2011.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Gamoran, Adam, Turley, Ruth L., Turner, Alyn, Fish, Rachel. Parent Involvement and Child Development: First-Year Results from a School Randomized Trial in Latino Communities. 2010 SREE Conference.Evanston, IL. 2010.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Condon, Meghan. The Effect of Social Capital on Voter Turnout: A Field Experiment in Two Southwestern Cities. . 2009.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2019-08-26 | Issue Number: 8 | Registration Date: 2015-06-16

Gamoran, Adam (2015): Social Capital and Children's Development: A randomized controlled trial conducted in 52 schools in Phoenix and San Antonio, 2008-2015. Version 1. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.