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Theories & Approaches

All Theories & Approaches

Sexual Risk and Protective Factors

by Douglas Kirby, Ph.D.
Gina Lepore, B.A.

Updated November 26, 2007

Welcome to Risk and Protective Factors!

In order to reduce the still high rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States, it is important to address two primary questions:

  1. What factors influence adolescents' decisions about sex?
  2. Which of these factors can be altered?

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 teens are greatly improved. This newly updated paper provides an exhaustive analysis of the hundreds of factors that can affect teen sexual behavior.

Readers can review and download the executive summary, the entire document, and the matrix listing all 400+ risk and protective factors.

NOTE: Readers in search of information on a particular risk or protective factor should consider downloading the matrix and using the find function (simultaneously pressing the "control" and "f" keys on a PC keyboard and the Apple icon and "f" keys on a Mac keyboard) to search for a particular word describing that factor, e.g., "income," "attachment," "self-esteem," or "attitudes."