Testing the specificity of environmental risk factors for developmental outcomes.
Developmental theories often assume that specific environmental risks affect specific outcomes. Canonical Correlation Analysis was used to test whether 28 developmental outcomes (measured at 11-15 years) share the same early environmental risk factors (measured at 0-3 years), or whether specific outcomes are associated with specific risks. We used data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (N = 10,376, 51% Female, 84% White) collected between 2001 and 2016. A single environment component was mostly sufficient for explaining cognition and parent-rated behavior outcomes. In contrast, adolescents' alcohol and tobacco use were specifically associated with their parents', and child-rated mental health was weakly associated with all risks. These findings suggest that with some exceptions, many different developmental outcomes share the same early environmental risk factors.