Protective Factors, Definition of

Protective or strength factors represent conditions that reduce the likelihood an individual will engage in antisocial behaviors. On the contrary, criminogenic risk factors represent characteristics of an individual or his or her circumstances that increase the likelihood of engaging in criminal or other antisocial activities. A history of conduct disorder, school failure, substance abuse, and negative peer associations are examples of risk factors.

Some debate exists regarding the appropriate way to conceptualize protective factors. In some cases, protective factors are represented in terms of the absence of a risk factor. For example, substance abuse is treated as a risk factor, whereas the absence of abuse is treated as a protective factor. In other cases, protective factors are viewed as independent of risk factors but are seen ...

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