Protective and Promotive Factors

Protective and promotive factors are conditions or attributes of individuals, families, communities, or the larger society that mitigate or eliminate risk and promote well-being.

Research indicates that:

  • Families “thrive when key protective and promotive factors are robust in their lives and communities.”
  • Child abuse and neglect, strong families, and optimal child development are outcomes that are tied together.
  • Protective and promotive factors help build resilience.
  • Everyone can benefit from building protective and promotive factors, not just at-risk children, youth, and families.
  • Protective factors can be applied in various human and social service settings including, public agencies, education, health care, law enforcement, family and neighborhood resource centers, libraries, and others.
  • Focusing on protective and promotive factors is a strength-based approach.

The Strategies Center at Youth for Change™ offers a series of learning and development opportunities and technical assistance to help individuals develop their knowledge and skills, and to assist programs and organizations as they increase the knowledge, skills, and opportunities necessary to embed protective and promotive factors in programs and services.

The Strategies Center offers the following services customized to the individual client need:

Program and organizational assessment

Integration across multi-domain systems

Action planning and implementation support

Integration with Quality Rating Improvement Systems (QRIS)

Training-of-Trainers (TOT) to build local capacity

Menu of learning and development sessions offered in convenient formats

Applied research and evaluation of protective and promotive factors efforts

The protective factor model refers to processes in which promotive factors moderate the negative effects of risks for predicting negative outcomes. In this model, promotive factors are called protective factors to distinguish them from promotive factors that only compensate for risk exposure.

Marc A. Zimmerman, Sarah A. Stoddard, Andria B. Eisman, Cleopatra H. Caldwell, Sophie M. Aiyer, and Alison Miller, Adolescent Resilience: Promotive Factors That Inform Prevention, Child Dev Perspect. 2013 December 1; 7(4): doi:10.1111/cdep.12042.