Helpful Tools for Implementing Science-Based Approaches

Risk and Protective Factors

In order to reduce the rates of adolescent pregnancy and STI/HIV, it is important to address two primary questions:

  • What factors influence adolescents’ decisions about sex?
  • Which of these factors can be altered?

There are numerous risk and protective factors (individual, environmental, peer, partner, family and culture) that have been shown to influence adolescent sexual behavior. By identifying and targeting those factors that both affect adolescents’ decisions about sex and can be changed by interventions, the chances of reducing sexual risk-taking among adolescents are greatly improved. Using such research when designing or choosing a program can help increase the likelihood that programs will achieve successful outcomes. Read more about risk and protective factors here.