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Reducing risk for youth make it more likely they will make healthier choices into adulthood
Risk factors are elements in a young person’s environment that make it more likely they will develop problem behaviors, like substance use, delinquency, or violence. In the same way that poor diet is a risk factor for heart disease, there are risk factors that research has shown contribute to youth problem behaviors.
The 20 risk factors that CTC focuses on were identified after examining hundreds of studies across 30 years. Risk factors were selected when two or more long-term, high-quality studies indicated that a particular factor contributed to a problem behavior. The chart above shows the CTC risk factors, along with the youth problem behaviors each factor is associated with. CTC focuses on risk factors because evidence has shown that lessening the impact of these risk factors lowers rates of youth problem behaviors.
Specific risk factors affecting a community are determined using data from the CTC Youth Survey. This survey is administered in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12, and provides a comprehensive look at what our youth are facing.
Video: The Science of Risk Factors
Each CTC creates a individualized Community Action Plan (CAP), which includes selecting evidence-based programs that target the top two risk factors. CTC ensures that the programs are implemented correctly. The CTC Youth Survey is then administered again after two years to identify changes in risk factors. In strong CTC coalitions with dedicated members, this process can continue indefinitely, so that the community is always addressing new or persistent risk factors for youth.