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date: 18 April 2019

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, within supportive physical and sociocultural environments. This entry discusses the history of this basic approach to professional helping from medical, public health, and social science perspectives and theories, along with an analysis of its substantial evidence-based practice. The 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: primary prevention, prevention, protection, promotion, ecological or systems perspective, epidemiology, incidence, prevalence, wellness orientation, strengths perspective, public health theory, universal preventive interventions, selective preventive interventions, indicated preventive interventions, New York Society for the Prevention of Pauperism, New York House of Refuge

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