Aim. This paper is a report of a study conducted to examine the influence of risk/protective factors on risk behaviours of early adolescents and whether protective factors moderate their impact. Background. An understanding of how risk and protective factors operate to influence risk behaviours of early adolescents will better prepare nurses to perform interventions appropriately to reduce risk behaviours of early adolescents. Method. A cross-sectional study was carried out, based on a sample of public junior high schools (from 7th to 9th grades) in one city and one county in Taiwan. An anonymous questionnaire designed to measure five risk factors, six protective factors and risk behaviours was administered from October 2006 to March 2007. Data from 878 students were used for the present analysis. Pearson's correlations, anova with random effect models, and generalized linear models were used to analyse the statistically significant explanatory variables for risk behaviours. Findings. Gender, perceived father's risk behaviour, perceived mother's risk behaviour, health self-efficacy, interaction of health self-efficacy and perceived peers' risk behaviour, and interaction of emotional regulation and perceived peers' risk behaviour were statistically significant explanatory variables of risk behaviours. Health self-efficacy and emotional regulation moderated the negative effects of peers' perceived risk behaviour on risk behaviours. Conclusion. All protective factors were negative statistically correlated with risk behaviours, and all risk factors positively statistically correlated with risk behaviours. Male adolescents should be considered an at-risk group for risk behaviour intervention. Nurses could provide early adolescents with training regarding health self-efficacy improvement, self-esteem enhancement, emotional regulation skills to reduce their risk behaviours.
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