The Protective Factors Framework: A Key to Programming for Benefits and Evaluating for Results


  • Peter A. Witt
  • John L. Crompton


protective factors, resilience, at-risk youth, repositioning, parks and recreation


The single most important challenge confronting the park and recreation field is to reposition itself. This requires both real repositioning (changing what is done) and psychological repositioning (changing the understanding of others about what is done). The At-Risk Youth Recrearion Consortium project funded by the National Recreation and Park Association is designed to contribute to both repositioning strategies. Using a protective factors model, project team members have designed a Protective Factors Scale. Initially, its function was to determine the outcomes of recreation programs for at-risk youth, but this role expanded to include guidance for developing program goals, the design and structure of specific program elements to achieve these goals, and the use of relevant sub-scales from the Protective Factors Scale to measure program outcomes. The article describes development of the Protective Factors Scale; the application of protective factor principles to developing programming for at-risk youth; and implications of the approach for the park and recreation field.





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