Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Key Features of Risk and Protective Factors

3. Individual Factors Can be Associated with Multiple Problems

Risk and Protective Factors Shared by Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

Though preventive interventions are often designed to produce a single outcome, research shows that some risk and protective factors are associated with multiple outcomes. For example, negative life events, such as divorce or sustained neighborhood violence, are associated not only with substance abuse but also with anxiety, depression, and other behavioral health problems.

What this tells us is that preventive efforts targeting a particular set of risk and protective factors have the potential to produce positive effects in multiple areas. Interventions with multiple benefits that lead to broad improvements in health are a cost-effective investment for society.


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