Abstract and Keywords
Primary prevention involves coordinated efforts to prevent predictable problems, to protect existing states of health and healthy functioning, and to promote desired goals for individuals and groups, while taking into consideration the physical and sociocultural environments that may encourage or discourage these efforts. This entry discusses the history of this basic approach to professional helping from medical, public-health, and social-science perspectives. It also reviews major theories that guide preventive thinking and action. One section sketches the substantial empirical base for evidence-based practice and how such information can be retrieved. This entry concludes with a review of practice methods for increasing individual strengths and social supports while decreasing individual limitations and social stresses, which together characterize most contemporary preventive services.
Keywords: biopsychosocial–cultural perspective, ecological systems perspective, epidemiology, indicated preventive interventions, preemption, prevention, primary prevention, promotion, protection, incidence, prevalence, public-health theory, selective preventive interventions, social cognitive theory, strengths perspective, universal preventive interventions, wellness orientation
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