Stability of intelligence from preschool to adolescence: the influence of social and family risk factors

Child Dev. 1993 Feb;64(1):80-97. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.1993.tb02896.x.


Intelligence scores of children in a longitudinal study were assessed at 4 and 13 years and related to social and family risk factors. A multiple environmental risk score was calculated for each child by counting the number of high-risk conditions from 10 risk factors: mother's behavior, mother's developmental beliefs, mother's anxiety, mother's mental health, mother's educational attainment, family social support, family size, major stressful life events, occupation of head of household, and disadvantaged minority status. Multiple risk scores explained one-third to one-half of IQ variance at 4 and 13 years. The stability between 4- and 13-year environmental risk scores (r = .77) was not less than the stability between between 4- and 13-year IQ scores (r = .72). Effects remained after SES and race, or maternal IQ, were partialled; multiple risk was important in longitudinal prediction, even after prior measurement of child IQ was accounted for; the pattern of risk was less important than the total amount of risk present in the child's context.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Behavior
  • Child Development*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Educational Status
  • Family*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Intelligence*
  • Male
  • Mothers / psychology
  • Risk Factors