Substance Abuse Prevention - Protective and Risk Factors

Protective and Risk Factors

Research has shown that there are various possible factors that could influence and increase the probability of drug use in youth. Environmental factors in the child's youth are: child abuse, exposure to drugs, lack of supervision, media influence, and peer pressure. Internal factors that are within the child or part of their personalities are self-esteem, poor social skills, attitudes about drugs, and many others.

Key risk periods for drug abuse occur during major transitions in a child's life. Some of these transitional periods that could increase the possibility of youth using drugs are puberty, moving, divorce, leaving the security of the home and entering school. School transitions such as from elementary to middle school or middle school to high school can be times that children and teenagers make new friends and are more susceptible to fall into environments where there are drugs available. Binge drinking has been shown to increase once an individual leaves the home to attend college or live on their own.

Most youth do not progress towards abusing other drugs after experimentation. The earlier the drug use, research shows, the greater possibility for continued use. Three exacerbating factors that can influence drug use to become drug abuse are social approval, lack of perceived risks, and availability of drugs in the community.

Protective Factors are important to consider in the prevention of substance abuse among youth and adolescents. A protective factor refers to anything that prevents or reduces vulnerability for the development of a disorder such as Substance Abuse Disorder. Research has generated an exhaustive list of protective factors specifically for the prevention of substance abuse in youth: Strong and positive family bonds, parental monitoring of children's activities and peers, clear rule of conduct that are consistently reinforced within the family, involvement of parents in the lives of their children, success in school performance, high self-esteem, strong bonds with institutions like schools and religious organizations, and adoption of conventional norms about drug abuse.

Read more about this topic:  Substance Abuse Prevention

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