Carnegie Mellon University

Childhood Family Risk


Risky Families Questionnaire



Copyright Information

Not a copyrighted scale

Primary References

1. Taylor, S. E., Lerner, J. S., Sage, R. M., Lehman, B. J., & Seeman, T. E. (2004). Early environment, emotions, responses to stress, and health. Journal of Personality, 72, 1365-1393.

2. Felitti, V. J., Anda, R. F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D. F., Apitz, A. M., Edwards, V., et al. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14, 245–258.


To assess the degree of risk of physical, mental, and emotional distress that subjects faced in their homes during childhood and adolescence.


Subjects rate the frequency with which certain events or situations occurred in their homes during the ages of 5 – 15, using a 5-Point Likert scale.


1 = Not at All, 5 = Very Often

Number of Items

10 (+ 3 filler items)

Sample Items

  • Would you say the household you grew up in was chaotic and disorganized?
  • Would you say you were neglected while you were growing up, left on your own to fend for yourself?


Not available


Reversed items: 1, 3, 12
Risky Families Total Score: Sum items: 1R, 2, 3R, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12R, 13
Risky Families Total Score: Sum items: 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13