Health >> Childhood Health Risks >> Teen Risk & Protection Factors (RPFs) >> Teen Protection by Region

Teens in North and East Regions experienced more protective factors that reduce vulnerability to making poor lifestyle choices.

During childhood, frequent or extended exposure to toxic stressors – such as abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction – can impair brain development, with potentially lifelong consequences for health and wellbeing.  Similarly, certain attitudes and preferences in adolescence can predict whether teens are likely to engage in unhealthy or delinquent behaviors.

King County 8th, 10th, and 12th graders responded to more than 100 questions about attitudes, beliefs, and elements of the community, school, and peer/individual social environments that relate to adolescent problem behaviors such as violence, delinquency, and the use of alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Protective factor scores could range from 0 to 6. Protective factors can buffer the negative influences of risk factors.

In 2010, 58% of King County 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students reported 4 or more of the 6 possible protective factors in their lives.  12% of students reported 0 or 1 protective factor.

  • Teens in North and East Regions reported the highest average number of protective factors – higher than in Seattle or South Region and the county overall.
  • As expected, teens who reported more protective factors in their lives were less likely to use alcohol, tobacco, and drugs (data not shown).
  • See Notes & Sources for a list of protective factors.