1. Introduction: Why Environment Matters, cont.
risks associated with drug availability. And at the community level, a protective environment is one characterized by strong neighborhood attachment, where residents feel a sense of belonging and identity, taking pride in their neighborhood. Poverty complicates neighborhood attachment because it tends to produce stress and to reduce a sense of security, working against neighborhood and community bonding.
More concentrated within the individual, the protective and risk factors associated with the individual and peer domains are also highly linked to a child’s environment. In both cases, positive role-modeling and a community norm of high expectations for the child’s behavior hold significant influence. In the individual domain the protective factors of self-control and positive emotionality, versus risk factors of lack of self-control and negative emotionality, affect a child’s likelihood to engage in substance use. (Wills, et al. 2003:146-147) Parenting practices, and an environment that models and instructs children in healthy ways to handle emotions, will help children develop self-control and avoid negative behaviors. In the peer domain, norms that encourage studying, seeking parental involvement, and high expectations for academic achievement foster academic competence. In contrast, an environment where substance abuse is the norm augments the risk that a child would engage in substance abuse rather than academic pursuits. In order to be effective, prevention must target the broader environment inhabited by youth and those who would supply them with drugs (CSAP 1999:1) In these domains, prevention aims to introduce skills and practices that will support healthy norms and healthy child development.