Risk Factors in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health

Cory Shulman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Risk factors are those factors which predispose individuals to negative or non-optimal outcomes. Empirical research suggests that for very young children risks and outcomes are not specifically linked, necessitating the investigation of those factors which are associated with which outcomes. This chapter surveys risk factors which have been identified through longitudinal research and methodological considerations to be taken into account when investigating risk. It emphasizes a cumulative risk model, in which the number of risk factors is a better predictor of child outcomes than any specific single risk factor or child characteristic. Particular attention is paid to poverty, which has been repeatedly identified as a risk factor and intensively studied; research has begun to distinguish between different types, intensities and durations of poverty and to assess their significance for developmental outcomes. The study of risk factors has particular salience for mental health in developing countries, where children are exposed to many risk factors, making it difficult for them to attain optimal developmental outcomes and resulting in non-optimal development.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationChildren's Well-Being
Subtitle of host publicationIndicators and Research
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages20
StatePublished - 2016

Publication series

NameChildren's Well-Being: Indicators and Research
ISSN (Print)1879-5196
ISSN (Electronic)1879-520X

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016.


  • Additive risk model
  • Developing countriesIntroduction
  • Non-optimal developmental outcomes
  • Poverty
  • Risk factors


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