Individual and Family Risk Factors


Individualand Family Risk Factors

Theideas of risk and protection hold an integral position in the fieldof psychology. A risk factor is anything that can increase thelikelihood or make a person to suffer from any kind of harm. On theother hand, the protective factors decrease the potentiality ofharmful impacts from occurring. In this context, therefore, riskfactors increase the possibility of individuals becoming violentwhile the protective perimeters buffer the youth from the risks.Factors that influence problem behavior are not static. The abilityto predict changes from time to time is subject to the stage ofoccurrence in a young person’s life, the surrounding socialcontext, and the prevailing circumstances. They are within theindividual, the environment or even arise when the people try torespond to the needs of the environment. Some of the factors can befelt at the early stages of development while others may come in atthe adolescent stage. Ironically, some of them may constitute risksat some level of development and fail to do so at other stages. It isalso good to note, that the factors, that foretell the beginning of abehavior, are not the ones that will necessarily sustain it to theend. A great focus on these factors is the first step, that needs tobe taken to facilitate preventive mechanisms that will be culturallycompetent.


Biologistsargue, that the behaviors of individuals are attached to theirbiological structures. When it comes to behavior, they tend to focusmore on the inherited features. However, modern researchers have gonea step higher and focused on the genetic defects, that are notinherited and those that rare as a result of the environment.

Forinstance, the structure of the sex chromosomes is attributed tocriminality. Normally, individuals have 23 pairs of chromosomes,totaling to 46. Out the 46, only one of the pairs is responsible forthe reproductive features. Males have XY and females have XY.However, in some exceptional situations, men have an extra Xchromosome. This condition commonly known as the Klinefelter’ssyndrome leaves the man with an XXY configuration. Psychiatricstudies involving people with this condition indicated increasedlikelihood of such men taking part in criminal activities (Sieh etal., 2012). Studies reported that their representation among thetransgender is higher when compared to other people. Later, studiesfocused on institutional crimes and paid attention to those that hadthe XXY complement so as to ascertain that they are aggressive due totheir extra maleness. It was clear that most of them had a history ofaggressiveness and criminal activities. A majority of them were alsoconvicted at an earlier age, displayed immaturity and instability andwere never remorseful when found guilty.

Otherbiological factors that directly influence the behavior of anindividual are the hormones, the neurotransmitters, the centralnervous system, head injuries, allergy, the diet the person isfeeding on, and the autonomic nervous structure.


Humanbeings are social beings. They learn from the observing what ishappening around them rather than relying entirely on theirinstincts. Psychologically, almost every behavior and activityinvolving man are sociocultural influenced (Atzaba-Poria et al.,2014). The language, dressing code, gender roles, and the taboos areaspects that have been decided upon at a community level and form thefoundation of the culture. There is a significant variation in thecultures throughout the world. However, they shape the attitude,values and the actions of the members.

Oneof the features that directly influence unwanted behaviors is theaspect of collective behavior. The collective action occurs whenpeople indulge in activities that are loosely organized (Atzaba-Poriaet al., 2012). Often, it results in peer pressure by forcingindividuals to conform to a group’s behavior or risk beingostracized. This concept makes the youth vulnerable to unethicalactivities like drug abuse, fornication, and criminal activities justto have a sense of belonging.

Theway a person has been socialized also directly influences hisbehavior. In the cultural context, every child is taught how to actat childhood. Children learn to respect the rules of their society.Some actions are repeatedly done due to the consequences that theyattract. Intuitively, a child cannot tell that stealing is bad butwill realize this by observing the negative implications of the act.From there, they will internalize the laws and believe that indeedthey are necessarily correct. On the contrary, if they are raised inan environment that propagates stealing, the likelihood that theywill internalize that stealing is not bad is high. If parents fail toteach their children the proper actions and reinforce theminconsistently, the ethical requirements may not be fully nurturedresulting to impaired social judgment and a character towardscriminal activities. Other social, cultural aspects include the levelof education, religious beliefs, mass media and the interaction atthe family level.

Diversityand Multicultural Considerations and the Actions to take

Everyperson tends to define and view the world from a contextual point.They base on their histories, growth, and the current experiences.This mentality brings in the aspect of diversity in a larger groupwhich may impact on the work of a psychologist. The factors includedemographics, communication, literacy level, the economic status,occupation, geographical setup, environmental and experientialcontext, relationships as well as the health status (Partos et al.,2016). Gender, the affiliations within the community and culturaldefinitions are also part of the aspects that need to be considered.If not well addressed it is possible that the goals set at thebeginning of the session may not be achieved.

Asa leader in the human behavior field, I will bring in my culturalmanifestation and my unique personal, cultural and psychologicalsetting. The first move that I will take in addressing the diversityissue is self-awareness. Self-understanding is an essential elementfor anyone who wishes to understand others. I will strive tounderstand my thoughts and feelings so as to have a clearunderstanding of the baggage that I will bring into the situation.

Theissue can also be addressed by being aware of individual differences.Generalization of thing is one of the major pitfalls of novicecounselors. They think that certain aspects that they learned about aparticular group of people can be applicable in all areas. This issuewill enable me to treat the team members first as individuals andthen as group members as I try to mold them to the right behavior(Stought-Hunter et al., 2016). Besides, it is also important toappreciate other cultures and the concept of diversity.


Thediscussion brings out a sample of the different categories in whichthe researchers have placed the risk factors. These types include thebiological, social and the cultural factors. However, variousconsiderations arise when dealing with the youth with deviantbehaviors. The concerns can be addressed effectively only if thecounselors are aware of their selves, the aspect of individualdifference and appreciate diversity.


Atzaba-Poria,N., Pike, A., &amp Deater-Deckard, K. (2014). Do risk factors forproblem behaviour act in a cumulative manner? An examination ofethnic minority and majority children through an ecologicalperspective. Journalof Child Psychology &amp Psychiatry,45(4),707-718.

Atzaba-Poria,N., &amp Pike, A. (2012). Are ethnic minority adolescents at riskfor problem behaviour? Acculturation and intergenerationalacculturation discrepancies in early adolescence. BritishJournal of Developmental Psychology,25(4),527-541. doi: 10.

Partos,T. R., Cropper, S. J., &amp Rawlings, D. (2016). You Don’t SeeWhat I See: Individual Differences in the Perception of Meaning fromVisual Stimuli. PlosONE,11(3),1-26.

Sieh,D., Visser-Meily, J., Oort, F., &amp Meijer, A. (2012). Risk factorsfor problem behavior in adolescents of parents with a chronic medicalcondition. EuropeanChild &amp Adolescent Psychiatry,21(8),459-471.

Stough-Hunter,A., Guinan, J., &amp Hart, J. P. (2016). A comparison of teachingmethods building cultural competency informed by contact theory.Journalof Cultural Diversity,23(3),91-98.