Protective Factors Framework

Protective Factor Framework:

Protective factors are attitudes, beliefs, behaviors and circumstances that build resilience. There are four main domains where protective factors can be identified and connected to kids. The presence of protective factors decreases the likelihood of potentially harmful behaviors such as substance abuse, school failure, teen pregnancy, violence and suicide. With resilience, individuals can flourish even under adverse circumstances.

The following protective factors are part of the Community Domain:

  • Involvement; opportunities are made and recognition is given for pro-social involvement in the community.
  • Modeling; high standards are set for behavior of young people.
  • Support; positive and clear social norms are highlighted.

Examples of Protective Factors Community Domain:

  • Invitations for youth to participate in decision making at the community level, like on boards, committees and groups.
  • Praise and admiration for youth who do contribute at the community level.
  • Information about laws and norms are distributed to dispel misinformation.

The following protective factors are part of the School Domain:

  • Belonging; feeling connected to the school community, bonding with peers and teachers, school pride.
  • Involvement; opportunities and recognition for pro-social involvement.
  • Rules; clear standards and guidelines, with positive role models and consistent enforcement.
  • Expectations; setting the bar for success.
  • Support; positive nurturing school climate.

Examples of Protective Factors in the School Domain:

  • Goals are set to make sure that each student has a positive bond with at least one caring adult in the school building.
  • Invitations are sent to students to be involved in school decision-making, including governance and policy through student council, staff interviews, etc.
  • Incentives are offered for participation with recognition and awards given to acknowledge and reward students.
  • Environment of the school is maintained at a warm, positive and inviting place.
  • Policies for addressing student behaviors is in place and consistently enforced.

The following protective factors are part of the Family Domain:

  • Belonging; bonding is strong with attachment to family 
  • Expectations; rules are clear and beliefs and norms are healthy.
  • Enforcement; standards are consistently upheld and explained.
  • Participation; regular family time includes connecting and communicating.
  • Support; positive and nurturing family climate.

Examples of Protective Factors in the Family Domain:

  • Rules for expected behavior include reasonable consequences and follow-through.
  • Home is a “safe haven” where their children’s friends feel welcome and valued.
  • Contributing to a community service project together provides a sense of cohesion and value.

The following protective factors have been identified in the Individual/Peer Domain:

  • Belonging; bonding to peers with healthy beliefs and clear standards
  • Develop; increase and improve social skills
  • Support; positive support and friendship where youth listen and support each other.

Examples of Protective Factor in the Individual/Peer Domain:

  • Sports teams, school music, drama or arts groups, discussion or advocacy groups all create bonding around an activity or goal. 
  • Mentoring a younger student creates support and guidance for the younger one and develops leadership skills for the older one.