Early childhood risk and later adaptation: A person-centered approach using latent profiles

Janette E. Herbers*, J. J. Cutuli, Emily L. Jacobs, Alexandra R. Tabachnick, Tiffany Kichline

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Risk factors in early childhood tend to co-occur and accumulate over time in complex patterns. Person-centered methods enable nuanced understanding of developmental processes of risk and resilience. With longitudinal data on 3398 children from the Fragile Families study, we utilized latent class analysis to identify profiles of psychosocial risk in early childhood in relation to profiles of middle childhood functioning. Results revealed five classes of risk, including one class of low risk, two classes characterized by resource-related risks, one class characterized by family stress, and one class involving both resource and family risks. Patterns of later functioning involved five profiles. Two profiles demonstrated competence, two were characterized by lower functioning in certain domains, and one involved maladaptive functioning across domains. Risk profiles characterized by resource-related risks corresponded with outcome profiles with low academics. Profiles characterized by family stress were associated with below average academic, conduct, and emotional well-being profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Applied Developmental Psychology
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • Early childhood
  • Latent class analysis
  • Person-centered methods
  • Risk and resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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