National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

The Social-Ecological Model: A Framework for Violence Prevention

Dahlberg, L.,
Krug, E.,
Mercy, J.,
Lozano, R.
Journal Article
Year Published: 2011
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control
Division of Violence Prevention 2011
National Center for Injury Prevention and Control

Violence is complicated and results from a combination of multiple influences on behavior. It is about how individuals relate to those around them and to their broader environment. The ultimate goal of violence prevention work is to stop violence before it begins. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) uses a four-level social-ecological model (SEM) to better understand and prevent violence. The SEM allows program planners to address the factors that put people at risk for or protect them from experiencing or perpetrating violence, and to identify the prevention strategies that can be used at each level to address these factors. Each level in the SEM can be thought of as a level of influence and also as a key point for prevention. It is important to implement programs and policies that can reduce risk factors and increase protective factors at each of the different levels in the model: individual, relationship, community, and societal. This document describes the role of the SEM in planning violence prevention efforts and presents tools to assist in mapping prevention program activities onto the SEM.

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