Educational Psychology, Department of


Date of this Version



Published in Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology 46 (May 2016), pp 84-85.


The notion of risk has been a mainstay of research in child development for decades. Studying and understanding risk have led to important discoveries that have informed policy and practice, particularly for children living in situations where risk is abundant. More recently, there has been attention to cumulative risk, or the idea that single indicators of risk – for example, poverty, hunger, and home insecurity – tend to co-occur. Individuals and families facing higher levels of cumulative risk are thought to have compounded problems, regardless of the risks themselves, because these multiple stressors together wear down a family’s resources and ability to combat the forces of risk.