Script: The Basics of Psychology for Christian Ministry
Homework Assignments

4.3 Protective factors

The impact of even the most serious adverse events can be mitigated by resources that provide the person under stress with resources to cope.  Although protective factors can take many different forms and be very unique, depending on a person’s specific strengths, interests, and life circumstances, researchers have also identified a number of common factors that emerged as highly relevant across many different studies. Depending on their socio-economic status, many people may take some of these for granted, such as a safe neighborhood. However, others who have grown up in environments plagued with poverty, high crime rates, and with overwhelmed, underfunded schools are very much aware how these problems contribute to the higher prevalence of mental health problems in their communities. 

Typical protective factors are:

  • Supportive childhood family environment
  • Strong marriage relationship
  • Education
  • Healthy lifestyle (e.g. nutritious diet, being physically active)
  • Safe neighborhood
  • Good coping skills
  • Vibrant spirituality



What are the most critical stress factors in your own life? What noticeable impact do they have on your life (e.g. sleep problems, stress eating, irritability, concentration problems.) What protective factors can you identify? Also consider what factors you might not have identified because they just seem normal to you.