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Risk & Protective Factors

There can be many risk factors that challenge and impact a child’s emotional development and mental health. These can lead to negative outcomes for the child and they need protective factors to help balance the risks they face.

It’s as if we are working with a balance scale. In the metaphor we have risk factors on one side and protective factors on the other. The scale can tip either way depending on the child’s experiences. This leads to either positive or negative outcomes for the child. Working to promote a child’s resilience through increasing the protective factors can counter-balance some of those risk factors impacting on the child, resulting in better outcomes.

Image Source: Centre on the Developing Child, Working Paper 13

The table below outlines some of the many risk and protective factors a child or young person may face. The image is taken from ‘The Mental Health of Children & Young People in England’ from Public Health England which can be found here.

The following literature review examines these factors in further detail and considers how we might work with them.

NCH (2007)

In this review you will be introduced to the key concepts of risk and resilience and start to reflect on different approaches to promoting resilience.