. "4 Using a Developmental Framework to Guide Prevention and Promotion." Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Preventing Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Disorders Among Young People: Progress and Possibilities
Findings from Studies of Risk and Protective Factors
Implications for the Design and Evaluation of Prevention Programs
Risk and protective factors influence eachother over time
Risk and protective factors are dynamically related to each other over time. They may influence the occurrence of later risk and protective factors
Protective factors may have additive effects, moderation effects, or mediation effects
Risk and protective factors at one level of analysis affect those at another level of analysis
Evaluation of preventive trials can inform theory concerning the effects of risk and protective factors
Prevention programs can have effects across levels of analysis. For example, risk at the biological, individual, or family level can be modified by interventions at different levels, including social policy interventions
Evaluation of prevention programs should test for mediating and moderating effects
Prevention programs can have promotion effects to strengthen positive outcomes, and promotion programs can have preventive effects to decrease problem outcomes
Prevention programs can impact chains of effects of risk and protective factors, leading to long-term effects across developmental periods
Risk and Protective Factors Can Be Found in Multiple Contexts
One of the earliest and most replicated findings from the empirical literature is that risk and protective factors are found at multiple levels of the social ecology, or the relationship between humans and their environments, from biological and psychological characteristics of the individual to the family and the community (Rutter, 1987; Werner and Smith, 1982, 1992; Luthar, 2003; Crews, Bender, et al., 2007). For example, a synthesis of 18 meta-analytic reviews of risk and protective factors for children found that the strongest risk factors for internalizing and externalizing problems include comorbid internalizing or externalizing problems, family environment stress (e.g., divorce, single parenting), corporal punishment, lack of bonding to school, delinquent peers, and poor peer relations (Crews, Bender, et al., 2007).
One implication of the multilevel nature of risk and protection is that high-risk groups can be identified on the basis of their individual, family, or community indices of risk. Similarly, preventive interventions can be developed to change risk and protective factors across levels of the social ecology (Maton, Schellenbach, et al., 2004; Sandler, Ayers, et al., 2004). Possible