Measurement Tools for Riskand Protective Factors Associated with Mental Health and Risk Behaviour in Children and Young People
Several risk- and protective factors affect children’s and young people’s mental health and risk behaviour (incl. substance abuse, violence, delinquency, risky sexual behaviour, and school dropout). Measuring these factors can help develop preventive approaches that target the most influential factors or define populations that are most at risk.
The current study aimed to summarise the available measurement tools, focusing specifically on self-report questionnaires for children and young people that collect information on potential risk- and protective factors for outcomes related to mental health, wellbeing, and behaviour.
A literature search and analysis were conducted, and 16 measurement tools were identified. The document describes these tools and information related to their use.
The document also includes an analysis of the risk- and protective factors most commonly measured by these instruments. In general, the risk- and protective factors fell into the following categories:
- factors related to the family environment (e.g. family relationships, social support, parental monitoring)
- peer group related factors (e.g. existence of friends, bullying or ostracism, social support from friends, peers’ behaviour)
- school-related factors (e.g. academic success, school safety, relationships with teachers, liking school)
- community and living environment (e.g. leisure opportunities in the neighbourhood, relationships with other community members, community disorganization)
- individual factors (e.g. self-esteem, self-efficacy, attitudes)
Finally, the document describes some practical considerations for selecting and implementing the most appropriate tools, including information on how the questionnaires are carried out and analysed, the questionnaires’ length, aim, target age range, and related interventions.
The document was created in 2022 as input for the Frontline Politeia project.