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High-Risk Participant Studies

  1. John M. Stokes

Published Online: 30 JAN 2010

DOI: 10.1002/9780470479216.corpsy0410

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology

How to Cite

Stokes, J. M. 2010. High-Risk Participant Studies. Corsini Encyclopedia of Psychology. 1–3.

Author Information

  1. Pace University

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 30 JAN 2010


In order to improve the efficiency of psychological research concerning etiology, studies may oversample participants who are identified as having high risk for the development of disorders or for the occurrence of adverse outcomes. High-risk participant studies have evolved in the context of “diathesis-stress” developmental models of psychopathology that emphasize the impact of exogenous factors on the vulnerable individual. Such studies are extremely helpful in instances where there is a low population base rate for the presence of a disorder or negative outcome, since few studies conducted by other methods will be able to recruit the number of participants needed to ensure sufficient statistical power. Information obtained from high-risk participant studies may be used to identify vulnerability processes central to the etiology of disorders and to develop preventive intervention programs.


  • experimental-manipulative high risk studies;
  • diathesis-stress;
  • vulnerability