Risk and Protective Factors of Delinquency: Perspectives from Professionals Working with Youth


Social Work

Date of Paper/Work


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Type of Paper/Work

Clinical research paper


Michael Chovanec


This study examines the risk factors that increase an adolescent’s chance of engaging in delinquency and the protective factors that reduce the risk of delinquency. The risk and protective factors were examined through the ecological paradigm, which included the individual, family/peers, and neighborhood/community domains. This study used a qualitative method to examine the risk and protective factors through the perspective of professionals working in the juvenile justice system. Data was collected from a sample of professionals working at all levels of the juvenile justice system (N=6, average length of experience in working with youth=21 years), which included juvenile judges, assistant county attorneys, and probation officers. This study has found that professionals, who are responsible for the decision-making in the juvenile justice system, base their decision-making on the risk and protective factors that a youth presents. The study has also revealed that youth in the criminal justice possess more risk factors than protective factors. Risk and protective factor themes are identified in each of the domains. Implications for social work and interventions within each domain are discussed.


risk factor, protective factor, delinquency, domain, interventions

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.