Risk and Protective Factors Essay Assignment Paper

Risk and Protective Factors Essay Assignment Paper

Risk and Protective Factors Essay Assignment Paper

It is estimated that one half of today’s youth are involved in some type of problematic behaviours. (Yoonsun, 2001) Different problematic behaviours portrayed by the adolescents include, delinquency, violence, substance use, risky sexual behaviour, truancy and dropouts. (Yoonsuns, 2001, Urdan & Parajes, 2004, Gentry & Campbell, Year & Santrock, 2003) All of these risk taking behaviours are the result of the preparation of transition from childhood to adulthood.Risk and Protective Factors Paper (Gentry & Campbell, Year) Risk taking in adolescents is an important way that they shape their identities, try out new decision-making skills and make realistic assessment of themselves, other people and the world (Gentry & Campbell, Year). It is also found that significant number adolescents confront mental health problems such as depression, eating disorders, suicides and homicides during this period. (Yoonsun, 2001, Cobb, 2001 Gentry & Campbell, Year & Santrock, 2003, & Urdan & Pajares, 2004)

Problematic behaviours and mental health problems are the result of inappropriate decision making and the lack of coping skills in adolescents to tackle the stresses they confront during the stage of “storm and stress’ (Santrock, 2004). According to Grotberg, (1999) not all the adolescents who face adversity show problematic behaviours or are depressed.

Some youths contrary to becoming affected by the stress or the adversity, show resiliency, which means they are able to thrive successfully in the face of adversity or risk. (Birmingham, 2004) “Resilience is envisioned as an individual ability to bounce back.” (Birmingham, 2004)

Studies have been done over the last two decades to distinguish between the outcomes which are positive from those which are adverse. The factors that bring out a negative outcome are considered as “risk” factors and the factors that buffer these negative outcomes are known as “protective “factors. It is a discredit that unknowingly, schools and other caregivers like parents are increasing the risks rather than the protective factors. (Winfield, 1994) There are preventive intervention measures that are targeted to bring up positive outcomes by identifying and reducing the risk factors and increasing the protective factors that would protect the adolescents from potential missteps.Risk and Protective Factors Paper (Cobb, 2001) Making caregivers, especially teachers and parents aware of the risk factors that would disrupt the resilience of the adolescents and how to increase the protective factors that would help them to thrive through their life is important. (Gentry & Campbell, Year & Santrock, 2003) It is very important to help and guide adolescents in this period of turbulence so that they can lead a healthy life as an adult in the future. If correct intervene measures are not taken during this stage the adolescents might end up their whole life in crimes mentioned above.

The study would investigate the risk and protective factors that are present both in schools and families of adolescents, with a special focus on Maldives, specifically on the capital, Male’s’ secondary school population, as it is the densest island in Maldives. The impact of these factors on the adolescents and the relationship between these factors on their resilience also would be examined. Special attention would be given on the identification of knowledge the educators, parents and school leaders have on the psychosocial well- being of the adolescents.

“One third of the youth of Maldives wake up in the afternoon around 2.00 pm. Three o’clock they would have coffee, four o’ clock coffee, five o’clock coffee. And the coffee goes on until ten in the night and at ten they would start crimes like stabbing.” (Faseeh, Police Commissioner of Maldives, 2009). There are several problems arising from the youth of the country, especially in the capital, Male’, like stabbing, substance abuse, violence, early sexual involvement and trafficking.Risk and Protective Factors Paper

According to the census of Maldives, 2006, out of the total population of the Maldives, which is 298, 968, 76, 903 are people from age 10 to 19. Among the population one-half of them live in the capital city, Male’, which has a total area of only 26.2 square kilometres. The capital Male’ is the densest city in the world. Due to the high population density, there are many challenges faced by the youth of Maldives.

The Police records of 2007 indicate that among adolescents under the age of 18 years, 0.73% has been detained due to various crimes. From which 0.21% are substance abuse cases, 0.20% theft cases, 0.21% due to violence, 0.04% for sexual misconduct, 0.03% for trafficking and 0.07% due to other crimes.

Youth of age 14 -18 are adolescents who are supposed to be studying either in secondary or higher secondary schools. Most of these youth are dropouts from schools or students who are involved in crimes while in school due to various reasons. They are in such a situation because of the inability or lack of skills like decision making, problem solving and communication skills and low confidence in oneself. “Individuals who fail to make the right decisions and are unable to adapt accordingly are more likely to encounter problems” ( Mustafa , 2008, Pg. 113) There could be several problems an individual may face such as family conflicts, bullying in the school, parental divorce, physical or sexual abuse. These problems or factors are considered as risk factors as they lead to negative outcomes in life. Hence, these young people have turn out to be the most vulnerable crowd in the society because they were not able to cope with adverse situation in their life or in other words they are not resilient enough to confront adverse situations in their life. Adolescents cannot “make it” when their development is threatened by such risk factors like negligence, maltreatment, poverty, discrimination, unless they are resilient enough to overcome adverse situations of their lives.Risk and Protective Factors Paper However, they can be made resilient by reducing the risk factors and enhancing protective factors both at home and school. Resilience is a term used to the adaptive or the coping abilities individuals have to overcome stressful situations. An important role can be played by parents and teachers in creating a resilient generation who can succeed in spite of serious challenges in life by providing them with protective factors and eliminating or reducing risk factors.

Family is the primary social unit of the children and home is the first institute where they learn most of the values, attitudes and skills. However, some parents are not very educated on proper parenting and as a result parents also create a lot of problems in students’ life which leads to low resiliency. Parent interaction and way of parent disciplining the adolescent influences both the overall emotional health and the academic achievement of the adolescents. (Urdan & Pajares, 2004) Parent-adolescent conflict is another aspect which might have a negative affect on the adolescent. The conflicts could be due to generation gaps or the adolescents not following the values and attitudes that the parents try to instil in them. (Santrock, 2003) Such behaviour by parents somehow leaves a very negative effect on the students.Risk and Protective Factors Paper

Adolescents spend most of their time in school other than their home. Schools play an important role in the development of the child and adolescent and the experiences they get may affect them in multiples ways. (Zimmerman & Arunkumar. 1994) The young generations are in the hands of teachers and therefore, the secondary point to bring or create a desirable environment for the positive development of students has to be the schools. “Teachers are in a position not only to educate students but to reach out to help them to make positive connections to their schools and to assist them in creating a safe environment, or at least a perception of one.’ ( Urdan and Pajares, 2004 P. 20) Lindwall, & Caleman (2008) states, “Scholars suggest that schools be structured as communities in an effort to provide a supportive context that can be help to promote the positive development of Youth.” But how supportive the schools are for the students is something that has to be discovered.

Students have to be listened to and their problems have to be the teachers’ concern. But in reality, most of the teachers never get time to listen to the needs or problems of students and students are not seen as individuals with different characteristics, interests and abilities. The teachers’ objective would be to deliver the lesson and assign them with the tasks. When there is no one to attend to their problems or if the students are not able to share their problems with someone, students would face an overload of stress or problems. When there are unsolved problems in their minds there is no way they can fully concentrate and achieve a better result. The effect of so much pressure and stress might lead them to risk taking behaviours as a result of not being able to cope or handle their stress properly. Therefore, teachers have to play an important role in helping students to make sense out of such confusing and potentially dangerous situations and serve as both role model and refuge for the students to come out of situation or face the situation that they might think is beyond their control or comprehension. (Urdan and Pajares, 2004)Risk and Protective Factors Paper

Adolescents who are less resilient are more prone to crimes as they are not able to adapt to the life challenges. Hence it is important to enhance adolescents’ resiliency by reducing the risk factors and enhancing the protective factors in schools. To do so it is vital for teachers to be aware of the risk factors that reduces resiliency and the protective factors that enhances resiliency.

Psychological aspect of students is not much taught to teachers when they do their teacher training. Hence, most of the teachers are not aware of the risk factors that lead to students’ low resiliency. Teachers maltreat students in a lot of ways without knowing what the consequence might be. For instant, a lot of teachers use to neglect those students who are quite, misjudging them as less intelligent students or sometimes they consider students who are talkative as naughty students. A lot of teachers tend to label students or sometime discriminate students. However, if the teachers are aware and have the knowledge on the negative effects on the child on such consequence, they would probably treat them well and would be more supportive in the positive development of the students.

According to Zimmerman & Arunkumar (1994), schools are social settings where youth could be given assistance to become resilient and sustain the capacity to face risk. According to them the school is the context within which the children can develop problem solving skills, find social support and experience success. Therefore, educating the teachers and school staff on the positive intervention on student development and behaviours is important. Zimmerman & Arunkumar (1994), states “The school environment has the potential either to increase the children’s risk or protect them from debilitating consequences of other risks.” To further elaborate his point, he has proclaimed that factors like the schools size (large) and schools bond (schools not been committed) have been linked to adolescent drug use.Risk and Protective Factors Paper

Family protection and school -based intervention plays an important role in bringing a resilience generation. However, both these institutions need to have ample knowledge on the psycho-social well- being and the factors related to the positive development of the youth today in order to derive a positive result out of them. The knowledge these caregivers acquire would help them to implement appropriate preventive measures by enhancing resiliency in the adolescents.

Many researches have been done on the factors that contributed to the resiliency of children and adolescents. But there is a gap to be filled, where the outcome of such factors has to be studied in-depth and how much the caregivers are aware of these outcomes caused by the risk and protective factors needs to be analyzed. Most of the time it is only the professionals, like psychologists and researches, who knows about the importance of resiliency. However, there is dearth of research or studies done on the identification of how much parents, teachers or people in charge of the development of the adolescents know about such knowledge. Unless these people are aware, there is not much that can be done to bring a positive outcome as they are the people who are directly involved or in the grassroots level to intervene problematic behaviours in adolescents. They are the people who can enhance protective factors and reduce risk factors in order to bring positive outcomes in the adolescents. If caregivers are not aware of the consequences or the effects of these factors, they might do a lot more harm to the adolescents unknowingly rather than helping the adolescents to come out of the situation. (Winfield, 1994)Risk and Protective Factors Paper

There is also lack of research in the psychosocial aspect of adolescents as well as children in the Maldives. Hence, little is known about the determinants and consequences of risk and protective factors of the resiliency of adolescents. Problematic behaviour of adolescents can be addressed and proper intervention techniques could be used, with appropriate assessment of the problems. As an attempt to determine the factors that contributes to problematic behaviours and resiliency of the adolescents studying in the Male’ Schools, it is important to study the risk and protective factors both in schools and homes. Furthermore, gaining an understanding of the relationship between these factors and students coping levels in adverse situations is important for the caregivers in the intervening process in order to mitigate problems faced by adolescents.Risk and Protective Factors Paper


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