Reducing risk, increasing protective factors: Findings from the Caribbean Youth Health Survey

Robert W. Blum, Marjorie Ireland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Purpose To identify the prevalence of health-compromising behaviors, and the risk and protective factors associated with them among youth in the Caribbean, and to predict the likelihood of these outcomes given the presence or absence of the risk and protective factors. Methods Analyses were done on the results of a 1997-98 survey of over 15,500 young people in nine countries of the Caribbean Community. The four health-compromising behaviors studied included violence involvement, sexual intercourse, tobacco use, and alcohol use. Logistic regression was used to identify the strongest risk and protective factors, and also to create models for predicting the outcomes given combinations of the risk and protective factors. Results Rage was the strongest risk factor for every health-compromising behavior for both genders, and across all age groups, and school connectedness was the strongest protective factor. For many of the outcomes studied, increased protective factors were associated with as much or more reduction of involvement in health-compromising behaviors than a decrease in risk factors. Conclusion This research suggests the importance of strengthening the protective factors in the lives of vulnerable youth not just reducing risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-500
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Adolescent Health
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Caribbean
  • Health compromising behaviors
  • Prediction
  • Resiliency
  • risk and protective factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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