Factors that protect young people from drinking and harm

Below are a list of the factors that can reduce the likelihood that a young person will drink alcohol and/or drink heavily.

These are the factors we need to strengthen in our communities.


    Protective Factors


Positive mental health

Ability to resist urges or social pressures to drink

Social and emotional competence in children (e.g. ability to trust, confidence in oneself and one’s ability to meet demands, the ability to take initiative)

Negative (or less positive) attitudes to alcohol use and reasons for drinking

Religious or spiritual engagement

Active involvement in healthy recreational activities


Positive peer role models in relation to alcohol use

Negative peer norms towards drinking

Lack of bullying amongst peers and others

Having fewer friends with deviant behaviours


Pregnancy which is alcohol-free and substance use free

Attachment to family

Presence of caring and compassion from adults

Family bonding and family time

Parental harmony

Lack of socio-economic deprivation

Good child-parent communication

Secure and health parent/child attachment

Low parental acceptability of adolescent alcohol use

Stable home environment

Parenting competence (e.g., ability to listen, set reasonable expectations, monitor child’s activities and model healthy attitudes and behaviours)

Parental supervision and monitoring

Consistent and effective discipline

Communication of healthy family values and expectations

Supportive parenting (e.g. emotionally, cognitively, socially, financially)

Family problem-solving and coping skills

Helping children develop dreams, goals and purpose in life


Attachment to school

Positive teacher, learning and social connectedness

Early addressing of learning disabilities

Achievement at school

Positive engagement with learning

Healthy relationships with peers and teachers (e.g. lack of bullying)

Low availability of alcohol through school sources (e.g. shoulder tapping)

Low levels of alcohol use in the school


High quality of social support networks

Strong community cohesiveness and ability to solve common problems (i.e. social capital)

Strong cultural identity

Low community tolerance to adolescent alcohol use

Access to positive social, recreation and community activities

Low levels of adult and adolescent alcohol use in the community

Restrictions on the availability of alcohol (reduced outlets and trading hours)

Adequate economic conditions (e.g. income, employment)

Availability of quality housing

Adequate working conditions

Community members which reward adolescents for positive behaviour

Low levels of crime, drug use and social disorder

Positive neighbourhood reputation


Policies which increase the price of alcohol

Restrictions in alcohol advertising and sponsorship

Restrictions on the availability of alcohol (i.e. number of alcohol outlets)

Reduced trading hours of alcohol outlets (bars, pubs, off-licences)

Low levels of alcohol use in the country

Low levels of income inequality

High minimum purchase age of alcohol