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Factor Affecting Mental Health Development

Protective factors can increase resiliency in a child. Resilient children can overcome and cope better against risk factors and negative life events.

The following are some risk and protective factors that may affect the mental health of children:

Risk Factors Protective factors
  • Exposure to toxins (e.g. tobacco, alcohol) in pregnancy
  • Genetic tendency to psychiatric disorder
  • Head trauma
  • Lack of oxygen to the brain at birth
  • HIV infection
  • Malnutrition
  • Age-appropriate physical development
  • Good physical health
  • Good intellectual functioning
  • Learning disorders
  • Sexual, physical & emotional abuse and neglect
  • Difficult temperament
  • Maladaptive personality traits
  • Ability to learn from experiences
  • High self-esteem
  • High level of problem solving ability and shielding factors
  • Good social skills


  • Inconsistent care-giving
  • Family conflict
  • Poor family discipline
  • Poor family management
  • Death of a family member


  • Healthy family relationship
  • Opportunities for positive involvement in family
  • Rewards for involvement in family


  • Academic failure and drop out
  • Inappropriate school environment


  • Good school grade
  • Healthy and friendly school environment


  • Community disorganisation
  • Discrimination and marginalisation
  • Exposure to violence


  • Connectedness to community
  • Opportunities for constructive use of leisure
  • Positive cultural experiences
  • Positive role models
  • Connection with community organisations including religious organisations

Support Groups

Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA)
No. 1, Jalan 3/66
46000 Petaling Jaya
Tel: 03-7782-5499 Fax: 03-7783-5432
Email :mmha@tm.net.my
Website : http://www.mentalhealth.org.my

Writer : Dr. Baizury Bt. Bashah
Last Reviewed : 20 April 2012
Reviewer : Dr. Eni Rahaiza binti Muhd Ramli