Encyclopedia of Social Work is now a consistently updated digital resource. Visit About to learn more, meet the editorial board, or explore the latest articles.

Dismiss
Show Summary Details

Sections updated and revised substantially to include recent developments and research. List of primary prevention centers added. Bibliography expanded and updated.

Updated on 09 Apr 2014. The previous version of this content can be found here.
Page of

PRINTED FROM the Encyclopedia of Social Work, accessed online. (c) National Association of Social Workers and Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the applicable license agreement governing use of the Encyclopedia of Social Work accessed online, an authorized individual user may print out a PDF of a single article for personal use, only (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 15 December 2017

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

Access to the complete content on Encyclopedia of Social Work requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.