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.
- Page last reviewed: April 22, 2016
- Page last updated: September 1, 2015
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