Addressing multiple domains of influence

There are many interconnected factors, or domains, that influence a young person’s health, wellbeing and development. Peers, family, social activities, and school are all elements that can influence behaviours.

young women chatting outside

Understanding the risk factors and the protective factors related to AOD harms within each of these domains, and how they can be influenced, is crucial to ensure health and wellbeing in young people is optimised.

This includes understanding protective factors to reduce the likelihood of - and at what age - they might begin using alcohol and other drugs.

Many different elements influence the strength of protective factors and, in any one community multiple factors often combine to produce best case outcomes.

Activities such as participating in organised sports, increasing parental involvement in young people’s leisure time, strengthening relationships between parents, and parents knowing where their young person is, are all factors that have been demonstrated to have positive effects in reducing alcohol and other drug use. 7

Risk factors, or factors that may increase the likelihood of a young person experimenting with AOD use, have also been identified.

These include difficult family environments, low school engagement and negative peer influences.

Domain Risk factors: Protective factors:
Peer and individual domain - Mental health issues - Negative peer influence - Favourable personal and peer attitudes towards alcohol and other drug use - Personality traits Knowledge of harms/health beliefs that support low risk AOD use and the supports available in the AOD space
Family domain Parental supply of alcohol - Favourable parental attitudes towards alcohol use - Family alcohol and drug issues  - Family conflict - Cultural norms Sense of belonging/connectedness to family - Parental monitoring - Parent-child relationship quality - Parental support - Parental involvement - Clear rules against alcohol use - Parental discipline - Cultural norms
Leisure domain Attending unsupervised parties Participation in positive activities with adult engagement Involvement in supervised recreational activities
School domain Academic failure - Low attachment to school - Early school leaving Sense of belonging/connectedness to school - Evidence-based drug education
Local community High availability of AOD in the community - Low attachment to community  - Lack of engagement in activities with adults Sense of belonging/connectedness to community - Community building activities - Positive role models, including around AOD
Broader environment Unregulated or poorly regulated promotion of alcohol, including advertising and sponsorship Availability of alcohol Price of alcohol (through a minimum unit price, or through taxation)