The Combined Impact of Risk vs. Protective Factors in Shaping Israeli Adolescents’ Cigarette Smoking

Moshe Israelashvili*, Iris Ravid

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A prominent notion in the literature advocates that addictive behavior emerges on the basis of the combined effect of risk and protective factors. Yet, while existing evidence supports the relevance of both risk as well as protective factors in explaining variance in addictive behavior, almost no study has ever explored the relevance of a combined index of “risk vs. protective factors” in shaping addictive behavior. Based on Albee’s (Counselling Psychology Quarterly, 8, 205–211, 1995, Journal of Primary Prevention, 27, 449–456, 2006) theorem, it was hypothesized that the ratio of risk vs. protective factors in adolescents’ lives, rather than either the risk or the protective factors alone, would better explain the variance in adolescents’ smoking behavior. Participants were 426 Israeli middle-school students who completed the following questionnaires: smoking status, exposure to stressful life-events, the Adolescent Coping Scale, sense of coherence, and the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support. Findings indicate that adolescents’ smoking behavior is a derivation of a relatively simple accumulation of risk factors, exacerbated by a tendency to use non-productive ways of coping. Hence, it seems that rather than designing sophisticated preventive interventions, which try to change the risk vs. protective ration by addressing them both simultaneously, any intervention that addresses even a single risk or protective factor may have its own singular and positive contribution to prevent the emergence of addictive behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)336-346
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health and Addiction
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2020


  • Adolescents
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Coping
  • Protective factors
  • Risk factors


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