TASK 2: Identify Intervening Variables

Intervening variables are factors that have been identified through research as having an influence on substance misuse and abuse. They include risk factors that have been shown by research to predict substance misuse and abuse, and protective factors that exert a positive influence or buffer against the negative influence of risks.



  • Risk factors for underage alcohol consumption: Low perception of risk or harm, ineffective family management or parental monitoring, youth social and commercial access.
  • Protective factors for underage alcohol consumption: Effective family management techniques, positive school climate


Risk and protective factors can be found at different levels, such as individual, peer, family, and community, and they can be measured using both quantitative and qualitative data. There are many ways to organize and compare the data you gather in order to help you prioritize them; see an example here.

SAPC Planning Tool