When addressing violence prevention, we look at the dynamics between personal and environmental factors. A socio-ecological approach identifies risk and protective factors across multiple levels including the individual, interpersonal, school, and community. If addressed, these areas will influence not only youth violence but also other problem behaviors including substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school drop out and depression and anxiety (See more information here).
- By strategically addressing key leverage points or areas of change, we can begin to improve outcomes across several problem behaviors and areas.
- Several of the risk factors relate to social determinants of health. These are underlying factors that contribute to health and well-being including economics and employment, education and social connectedness, which are a priority focus for ThrYve.
Why this Approach: What we Know
Social Determinants of Health: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines them as “the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age which are shaped by the distribution of money, power, and resources (source).” Social determinants operate at two main levels: structural and at the more proximal or intermediary levels.
- Structural determinants are broader societal conditions that influence the context and structure of how society operates, which contributes to inequalities in health, well-being, and related conditions. Specifically, structural determinants relate to social, economic, and political contexts. Which may result in societal differences in status, power, privilege and access to resources and information, particularly for different groups. The results of structural determinants are often represented through inequities including income inequality, educational status, and racism and social injustices.
- Types of Structural Determinants: Public Policies (education, housing); Discrimination/Racism; Education; Income
- Proximal (intermediary) determinants are the circumstances of daily life that more directly influence a person’s attitudes and behaviors. Examples include the quality and nature of family and peer relationships, availability of food and housing, opportunities for recreation, and school environment. Since proximal determinants are shaped in part by structural determinants, they can lead to wide variations in young people’s exposure and vulnerability to health risks.
- Types of proximal determinants: Access, Social connectedness, behavioral and biological factors
Risk and Protective Factors
The ThrYve approach addresses risk and protective factors related to youth violence and other adolescent problem behaviors. The risk factors for youth problem behaviors identified by David Hawkins and Richard Catalano through the Communities that Care approach were used to consider risk and protective factors across socio-ecological levels or domains to address through ThrYve. Additionally, risk and protective factor information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Community Tool Box are also resources for informing the ThrYve strategies supported through the comprehensive community approach to youth violence prevention.
- Youth Problem Behaviors Risk Factors (Hawkins & Catalano)
- Youth Violence Risk and Protective Factors (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Understanding Risk and Protective Factors (Community Tool Box)
- Risk and Protective Factors Across Ecological Levels