Analysis and influence of demographic and risk factors on difficult child behaviors

M. N. Wilson, C. L. Hurtt, D. S. Shaw, T. J. Dishion, F. Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This descriptive study examined the distribution of risk factors in a sample that was selected on the basis of existing potential for difficult child behaviors. We inquired into whether exposure to risk factors was distributed equally across different contexts of ethnicity, locality, and child gender. Participants included 731 mother-child dyads recruited from WIC Programs in rural, suburban, and urban localities. Cumulative risk indices were constructed using neighborhood, family, and individual risk factors. The findings generally revealed that African American children and children in urban localities were exposed to higher numbers of risk factors and cumulative risk in relation to other ethnic children and localities. On the other hand, Caucasian children expressed higher levels of vulnerabilities to risk for internalizing behaviors than did other children. The results are discussed in terms of differences in contextual specific rates of risk exposure, vulnerability, and their implications for prevention and intervention research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-365
Number of pages13
JournalPrevention Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Child behavior problems
  • Risk exposure
  • Risk factors
  • Risk vulnerability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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