Efforts to improve child and adolescent health have typically addressed specific health risk behaviors, such as early initiation of sexual intercourse, tobacco use or violence. However, results from a growing number of studies suggest that greater health impact might be achieved by also enhancing protective factors that help children and adolescents avoid multiple behaviors that place them at risk for adverse health and educational outcomes.
Protective factors are individual or environmental characteristics, conditions, or behaviors that reduce the effects of stressful life events. These factors also increase an individual’s ability to avoid risks or hazards, and promote social and emotional competence to thrive in all aspects of life, now and in the future.
School connectedness—the belief held by students that adults and peers in the school care about their learning as well as about them as individuals—is an important protective factor.
School Connectedness: Strategies for Increasing Protective Factors Among Youth [pdf 1.7M]
Describes strategies that teachers, administrators, other school staff, and parents can implement to increase the extent to which students feel connected to school.
Parents and educators can work together to support and improve the learning, development, and health of children and adolescents.
Parent Engagement: Strategies for Involving Parents in School Health [pdf
Describes strategies and actions schools can take to increase parent engagement in promoting positive health behaviors among students
Through positive parenting practices (highlighted in the fact sheets listed below), parents can encourage their teens to make healthy choices and avoid health risk behaviors.
- Monitoring Your Teen’s Activities: What Parents and Families Should Know [pdf 320k]
- Ways to Influence Your Teen's Sexual Risk Behavior: What Fathers Can Do [pdf 158K]
- Parents' Influence on the Health of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Teens: What Parents and Families Should Know [pdf 255K]
- Talking with Your Teens about Sex: Going Beyond "the Talk" [pdf 380K]