Risk/Protective Factors


Risk/Protective Factors


What is it?

Effective prevention strategies focus on reducing risk factors and increasing protective factors. Risk factors increase the likelihood of substance misuse; protective factors buffer the impact of risk factors.

Brief: Risk and Protective Factors
This 4-page brief from SAMHSA provides of overview of risk and protective factors.

Video: Protective Factors
This one-minute video from the National Council for Mental Well-being provides an overview of protective factors.

Video: Social Development Strategy
This two-minute video from EPIS at Penn State provides an overview of the Social Development Strategy, which can be used to build protective factors.

Video: The Science of Risk Factors
This five-minute video by Communities That Care provides an overview of the science of risk factors.

Video: Risk and Protective Factors in Action
This four-minute video from the Addiction Policy Forum provides a first-person perspective of the impact of risk and protective factors.


Learn about it.

Report: Chapter 3 of Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health
Chapter 3 of the U.S. Surgeon General's Report discusses the predictors of substance use initiation early in life and substance misuse throughout the lifespan (risk factors), as well as factors that can mitigate those risks (protective factors).

Self-paced Online Course: Shared Risk and Protective Factors
This 7-hour course is available for free on healtheknowledge.org. This course is a deeper dive into risk and protective factors for healthy youth development – what they are, why they’re important, and how to measure them at the community level.

Webinar: Building Protective Factors Using the Social Development Strategy
This webinar by the Great Lakes PTTC focuses on how to build protective factors in the youth in a straight-forward, easy to implement way using the Social Development Strategy.

Webinar: Risk Factors for Youth Substance Use
This webinar by the Great Lakes PTTC focuses on the risk factors that place youth at greater risk of substance misuse, as identified by the Social Development Research Group through systematic reviews of the research literature.

Take action.

Slide Deck: The Social Development Strategy: 5 Proven Keys to Raising Healthy, Successful Youth.
This slide deck by the NW PTTC can be used as a stand-alone overview of the Social Development Strategy or incorporated into other presentations or materials.

Tool: Social Development Strategy Assessment Tool
This tool by Gabrielsen Consulting can be used to assess which components of the Social Development Strategy are being implemented in order to build protective factors.



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