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A Bibliographic Tool on Protective Community Resources for Children and Youth

Research BriefBlack Children & FamiliesNov 2 2023

This interactive tool allows users to browse 10 years of research—published from 2012 to 2022—on the effects of protective community resources (PCRs) on children and youth from birth to age 24. PCRs are defined as community-level characteristics or assets that can buffer the effects of risks that children and youth may face, and support their positive social, emotional, and physical development. We hope that researchers, practitioners, and policymakers will search our interactive database of 172 articles to gain a better understanding of the role of PCRs in increasing the well-being of children and youth.

Below the tool, we describe the methods used to conduct the systematic review and develop the bibliographic tool.

Child Trends recently announced that protective community resources (PCRs) would be one of two priorities for its new applied research agenda on Black children and families. This tool is a component of our systematic literature review on PCRs for children and youth from birth to age 24.



Methodology and Eligibility Criteria

Our systematic literature review on protective community resources (PCRs) for children and youth covers the 10-year period from 2012 to 2022. Eligible studies for this systematic review were limited to those describing original research conducted in the United States and written in English. We excluded theses, dissertations, legal studies, policy briefs, book chapters and reviews, and literary essays. Our populations of primary interest were children and youth from birth to age 24 whose development (i.e., academic, emotional, physical) was examined in relation to PCRs. We adapted Rutter’s definition of PCRs,[1] defining them for our purposes as community-level characteristics, conditions, or assets that buffer the effects of risk, thereby supporting positive child and youth development. Given our focus on protective resources at the community level, we only included studies that identify or name community-related factors (e.g., neighborhoods, youth organizations, health clinics, schools) as a focus of the investigation.

We searched three electronic databases—JSTOR, ERIC, and PubMed—for relevant studies, including empirical articles, research reports, and literature reviews. We selected these databases because of their focus on social science, education, and public health research, respectively. We used three sets of keywords to search the databases: (1) the first set to identify the protective community resources inclusion criterion (community protective factors, community protective resources), (2) the second set to delineate studies that met the sample inclusion criterion (children, youth), and (3) the third set to identify the community inclusion criterion (neighborhood). We linked the keywords within each set using the operator or, and the three sets with the operator and.

To reduce the biases that can result from relying solely on studies published in academic journals, we also conducted an internet search of national organizations that publish child development research (e.g., National Institute for Early Education Research and Society for Research in Child Development). We compiled an initial list of these organizations and consulted expert advisors in Child Trends’ youth development, education, early childhood, child welfare, and reproductive health and family formation research areas for additional organizations that were then screened for eligibility. Once the list of organizations was finalized, we searched the organizations’ websites for studies using the phrase “protective factors.” Finally, we extracted a list of empirical studies meeting the inclusion criteria from the literature reviews on PCRs for children and youth identified during the initial database search.

Through this three-step process, we identified 3,277 publications for review. We excluded 2,940 of these after the initial screening of titles and abstracts. Of the remaining 337 articles that received full review, 172 met the criteria for inclusion in this bibliographic tool.

Suggested citation: Winston, J., Martinez, D.N., Rochester, S.E., Sanders, M., & Kelley, S. (2023). A bibliographic tool on protective community resources for children and youth. Child Trends. https://doi.org/10.56417/6420w9843v


[1] Rutter, M. (2012). Resilience as a dynamic concept. Development and Psychopathology, 24(2), 335-344. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0954579412000028