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Risk and Protective Factors

In working with students, I CARE Specialists assess the following risk and protective factors before determining a course of action.



Risk Factors

Characteristics that are known to predict increased likelihood of drug use, delinquency, school dropout, teen pregnancy, and violent behavior among youth.

School

  • Academic failure (grades 4-6)
  • Little commitment to school
  • Early and persistent antisocial behavior (K-3)

Community

  • Community/personal transitions & mobility
  • Community disorganization
  • Low neighborhood attachment
  • Laws & norms favorable toward drug use
  • Perceived availability of drugs & handguns
  • Media portrayal of violence
  • Extreme economic deprivation

Family

  • Family history of antisocial behavior (ASB)
  • Family conflict
  • Parental attitudes and involvement in drug use, crime, violence
  • Poor family discipline/supervision/management
  • Low family attachment

Peer-Individual

  • Friends’ use of drugs
  • Attitudes favorable toward ASB and/ or drug use
  • Early initiation of problem behavior
  • Interaction with antisocial peers
  • Low perceived risk of drug use
  • Rewards for AS interaction
  • Rebelliousness against/alienation from society
  • Sensation seeking/low harm avoidance/low impulse control



Protective Factors


Elements that exert a positive influence or a buffer against the negative influence of risk, thus reducing the likelihood that adolescents will engage in problem behaviors.

School

  • Opportunities for positive involvement
  • Rewards for positive involvement

Community

  • Opportunities for positive involvement
  • Rewards for positive involvement

Family

  • Opportunities for positive involvement (meaningful participation in responsibilities & activities)
  • Rewards for positive involvement(praise, encouragement, positive attention)

Peer-Individual

  • Drug-free friends & peers
  • Religiosity (regular attendance)
  • Social skills
  • Belief in the moral order