The Role of Risk Factors and Protective Factors on Mental Health and Well-Being

The Role of Risk Factors and Protective Factors on Mental Health and Well-Being

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In today’s society, there is substantial variation in the number of incidences of mental health disorders between individuals within a population. Even though most individuals with mental health problems do not seek professional help, the rehabilitation and treatment of those who do, does not decrease the number of psychological problems in a population. Instead, the number of mental disorders remains the same and/or possibly increases. It is therefore crucial to practice and use preventative approaches to control and possibly eliminate biological, psychological and social stressors that are detrimental to one’s psychological health. As a result, the use of promotional and protective factors thereby improves the overall mental health and well-being of an individual. In accordance with Dozois & Firestone (2010), mental health promotion falls under a continuum where minimal mental health is a result of poor coping skills and decreased self-esteem within an individual, and where optimal mental health suggests good coping skills, and a high self-esteem (p.442). The authors also indicate that risk factors (which increase negative mental health outcomes) and protective factors (which increases positive mental health outcomes or acts as a buffer to reduce risk factors) operates at three ecological levels: the individual level (e.g. biological, cognitive, etc.), the microsystem level (peers, family, schools etc.), and the macrosystem level (society as a whole). Everyone at some point in their lifetime experiences some risk factors and protective factors that can have a significant influence on their mental health and well-being. In this paper, I will discuss some of these risk and protective factors from my childhood, adolescence and adul...


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...vention and Mental Health Promotion in the Community. Abnormal Psychology: Perspectives – 4th ed. (pp.440-457). Toronto: Pearson Education, Inc..
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Raviv, T. & Wadsworth, M.E. (2010). The efficacy of a pilot prevention program for children and caregivers coping with economic strain. Cognitive Therapy and Research. 34(3), 216-228. DOI: 10.1007/s10608-009-9265-7.
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