What are the risk and protective factors that BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS (BBBS) is designed to target?

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS (BBBS) strives to promote positive changes in scholastic confidence and competence, social acceptance and peer relations, educational expectations, the avoidance of delinquency, and improved parental relationships. By strengthening skills related to these outcomes, the following risk and protective factors are targeted:

Protective Factors Targeted for an Increase

  • Exposure to community/cultural norms that are not favorable to antisocial behaviors and substance use
  • Involvement in and recognition for pro-social activities
  • Promotion of healthy beliefs and clear standards
  • Goal setting and positive future orientation
  • Positive orientation to school and increased scholastic confidence and competency
  • Positive parent-child affect and parental trust
  • Improved relations with pro-social peers
  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Decision-making and critical thinking skills
  • Coping and self-management skills

Risk Factors Targeted for a Decrease

  • Academic Failure or poor school performance
  • Lack of commitment to school
  • Early and persistent anti-social behavior
  • Rebelliousness
  • Friends who engage in problem behaviors- Negative peer influences
  • Favorable attitudes towards problem behaviors and substance use
  • Early initiation of problem behaviors
  • Family conflict

Involvement in BBBS is also believed to buffer the negative effects of the single parent home. Children from single parent homes often live in poverty, enjoy less parental time and supervision, and have fewer opportunities for positive youth development.  They are twice as likely to drop out of high school and more likely to be placed in foster care or juvenile justice facilities. Females have 3x the risk of bearing children as unwed teenagers. Males whose fathers are absent face a much higher probability of growing up unemployed, incarcerated, and uninvolved with their own children. (See KIDS COUNT for more information related to the risks associated with single parent homes.)

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