Research has shown there are a number of risk factors that increase the chances of adolescents developing health and behavior problems. Equally important is the evidence that certain protective factors can help shield youngsters from problems. If we can reduce risks while increasing protection throughout the course of young people’s development, we can prevent these problems and promote healthy, pro-social growth A protective factor can be defined as “a characteristic at the biological, psychological, family, or community (including peers and culture) level that is associated with a lower likelihood of problem outcomes or that reduces the negative impact of a risk factor on problem outcomes.” Conversely, a risk factor can be defined as “a characteristic at the biological, psychological, family, community, or cultural level that precedes and is associated with a higher likelihood of problem outcomes.” (Information from Youth.gov)
Increasing Protective Factors
Young people are more likely to engage in healthy behavior when parents, teachers and the community around them communicate healthy beliefs and clear standards. Strong bonds with these role modes reinforces healthy behaviors.
Strong bonds with our youth means:
- Providing opportunities for active participation and meaningful involvement with their families, schools and communities
- Teaching the skills they need to succeed.
- Providing consistent recognition and praise for their efforts, involvement and accomplishments.