TABLE 4-2 Summary of Findings from Studies of Risk and Protective Factors and Their Implications for Design and Evaluation of Prevention and Promotion Programs

Findings from Studies of Risk and Protective Factors

Implications for the Design and Evaluation of Prevention Programs

Risk and protective factors operate at multiple levels of analysis

  • High-risk groups for prevention programs can be identified at multiple levels, including individuals, families, and communities

  • Preventive interventions can be directed to change malleable risk and protective factors at multiple levels of analysis

The effects of risk and protective factors are correlated and cumulative

  • Risk factors tend to be positively correlated with each other and negatively correlated with protective factors

  • Risk factors tend to have a cumulative effect on the development of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems

  • Protective factors have a cumulative effect to reduce the development of mental, emotional, and behavioral problems

  • Children in high-risk groups are likely to have multiple risk factors

  • Prevention programs may be most effective when they impact multiple risk and protective factors

  • Evaluation of prevention trials may indicate which risk or protective factors account for program effects, leading to more efficient prevention strategies over time

Risk and protective factors have effects on both specific mental, emotional, and behavioral problems and on multiple problems

  • Some risk and protective factors have general effects to impact multiple mental, emotional, and behavioral outcomes

  • Some risk and protective factors have specific effects on single MEB disorders

  • Specific effects of risk and protective factors may be found in subgroups of gender or age

  • Preventive interventions with high-risk groups may impact multiple outcomes

  • Preventive interventions with general risk factors should be designed to identify multiple outcomes across developmental stages

  • Preventive interventions can target risk factors specific to particular MEB disorders



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement