Cumulative Sociodemographic Risk Indicators for Difficult Child Temperament

Document Type


Publication Date



Cumulative risk models provide a convenient, parsimonious way to identify outcomes associated with multiple, highly correlated risk factors. In this paper, we explored linkages between a cumulative sociodemographic risk index, which included rurality status, and aspects of temperamental difficulty in an early school age sample of 53 school-aged children from Southcentral Appalachia. Cumulative risk was significantly predictive of temperamental difficulty, as defined by high negative affectivity and low effortful control, but post-hoc analyses revealed this association to be driven primarily by two of the eight risk indicators: rural status and income-to-needs risk. Although rurality status was highly correlated with income-to-needs risk, rurality predicted negative affectivity over and above income-to-needs risk and income-to-needs risk predicted effortful control over and above rurality status. Future models of cumulative risk may benefit from including rurality status as a risk indicator, despite high collinearity with income-to-needs risk.