There are many factors that influence young people’s attitudes and actions with regard to alcohol, tobacco and drug use or other behaviors. There are negative factors and positive. A negative behavior would be a RISK FACTOR while a positive behavior or action would be a PROTECTIVE FACTOR.
A risk factor is anything associated with the increased likelihood of creating or increasing negative consequences. A protective factor is anything that reduces risks and negative behaviors by helping individuals not to become involved with things that lead to negative consequences and/or promotes positive alternatives.
Over the past few decades there has been tremendous research in the arena of alcohol and drug abuse prevention. We now know, for example, that the more risk factors present, the greater the likelihood of young people engaging in alcohol, tobacco or other drug use/abuse, or violence, or other negative behaviors.