Vulnerable young people and substance misuse: expanding on the risk and protection-focused approach using social psychology

Victoria Scaife, Margaret O'Brien, Rhona McEune, Caitlin Notley, Abigail Millings, Laura Biggart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This paper critically reviews recent research exploring risk and protective factors for the development of problematic substance use in populations of young people. Specific populations of young people who are most vulnerable to developing problematic patterns of use are identified, and alterations to methods of data collection which would improve the ability of local authorities to monitor these populations and more efficiently target them for early preventative interventions are highlighted. It is argued that social-psychological research techniques and approaches should be used to complement a risk and protection-focused approach in order to improve the design and evaluation of interventions, and provide decision-aids for practitioners when assessing the needs of vulnerable young people. Examples are provided to demonstrate the utility of social psychology in this regard, and the paper concludes with specific recommendations for future research and services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-239
Number of pages16
JournalChild Abuse Review
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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