Certain risk and protective factors are more common and influential during particular developmental periods. The developmental framework helps practitioners match their prevention and promotion efforts to the developmental needs and competencies of their audience. It’s important to note that many actors affect more than one phase, as do the corresponding interventions. Consider the following scenarios:
In both scenarios, the intentions are good but the developmental-appropriateness of the selected interventions is questionable: neither intervention matches the developmental phase of the target audience or addresses the risk and protective factors most influential during that phase. In the first scenario, the intervention addresses competencies that children develop later in life, during their middle-childhood and adolescence. A more appropriate intervention might be one that targets kindergarten teachers, helping them to provide better support for their students’ behavioral health. In the second scenario, the intervention targets individual-level behavior change. A more effective approach might be to reduce social access to alcohol—by enforcing bans on serving and selling alcohol to minors.