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Prevention is the attempt to prevent an unwanted and/or negative consequence.
Prevention in medical settings
- Primary prevention avoids the development of a disease. Most population-based health promotion activities are primary preventive measures.
- Secondary prevention activities are aimed at early disease detection, thereby increasing opportunities for interventions to prevent progression of the disease and emergence of symptoms.
- Tertiary prevention reduces the negative impact of an already established disease by restoring function and reducing disease-related complications.
Gordon (1987) in the area of disease prevention, and later Kumpfer and Baxley (1997) in the area of substance use proposed a three-tiered preventive intervention classification system: universal, selective and indicated prevention. Amongst others, this typology has gained favour and is used by the US Institute of Medicine, the NIDA and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction.
- Universal prevention addresses the entire population (national, local community, school, district) and aim to prevent or delay the abuse of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. All individuals, without screening, are provided with information and skills necessary to prevent the problem.
- Selective prevention focuses on groups whose risk of developing problems of alcohol abuse or dependence is above average. The subgroups may be distinguished by characteristics such as age, gender, family history, or economic status. For example, drug campaigns in recreational settings.
- Indicated prevention involves a screening process, and aims to identify individuals who exhibit early signs of substance abuse and other problem behaviours. Identifiers may include falling grades among students, known problem consumption or conduct disorders, alienation from parents, school, and positive peer groups etc.
Outside the scope of this three-tier model is Environmental prevention. Environmental prevention approaches are typically managed at the regulatory or community level, and focus on interventions to deter drug consumption. Prohibition and bans (e.g. smoking workplace bans, alcohol advertising bans) may be viewed as the ultimate environmental restriction. However, in practice environmental preventions programmes embrace various initiatives at the macro and micro level, from government monopolies for alcohol sales, through roadside sobriety or drug tests, worker/pupil/student drug testing, increased policing in sensitive settings (near schools, at rock festivals), and legislative guidelines aimed at precipitating punishments (warnings, penalties, fines).
Types of prevention in health
- AIDS prevention
- Drug abuse prevention
- Early intervention
- Early intervention in psychosis
- Preventive medicine
- Primary mental health prevention
- Relapse prevention
- Risk factor
- Suicide prevention
Prevention in other areas
Other areas of prevention studied by psychologists include:
- Disability management
- Health care delivery
- Health care services
- Mental health services
- Prenatal care
- Risk management
- Risk perception
- Suicide prevention centers
Key texts – Books
- Albee, G., & Gullotta, T. P. (Eds.) (1997). Primary prevention works. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Barton, H. A., Hopkins, K. N., Mcelhaney, S. J., Heigel, J., & Salassi, A. (1995). Getting started: The NMHA directory of model programs to prevent mental disorders and promote mental health. Alexandria, VA: National Mental Health Association.
- Cowen, E. L. (1996). The ontogenesis of primary prevention: Lengthy strides and stubbed toes. American Journal of Community Psychology, 24, 235-249.
- Durlak, J. A. (1995). School-based prevention programs for children and adolescents. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Ewles L(2005)Key Topics in Public Health: Essential Briefings on Prevention and Health Promotion. Churchill Livingstone.ISBN 0443100268
- McCord, J., & Tremblay, R. (Eds.) (1992). Preventing antisocial behavior: Interventions from birth through adolescence. New York: Guilford Press.
- Weissberg, R. P., Gullotta, T. P., Hampton, R. L., Ryan, B. A., & Adams, G.. R. (Eds.) (1997). Enhancing children's wellness. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
- Weissberg, R. P., Gullotta, T. P., Hampton, R. L., Ryan, B. A., & Adams, G. R. (Eds.) (1997). Establishing preventive services. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Additional material – Books
- Price, R., Cowen, E., Lorion, R., & Ramos-McKay, J. (Eds.). (1988). Fourteen ounces of prevention: A casebook. Washington, DC: APA.
Key texts – Papers
- Sandler, I. (Ed.) (1997). Meta-analysis of primary prevention programs. American Journal of Community Psychology, Special Issue, 25, (2).
- Weissberg, R., Caplan, M., & Harwood, R. (1991). Promoting competent young people in competence-enhancing environments: A systems-based perspective on primary prevention. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 59, 830-841.
- Zigler, E. (1994). Reshaping early childhood intervention to be a more effective weapon against poverty. American Journal of Community Psychology, 22, 37-47.
Additional material - Papers
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