Spectrum of Prevention

Developing a Comprehensive Approach to Prevention

The Spectrum of Prevention is a clearly visible way to show the layers and levels of activities and strategies that need to occur at the same time in order to make a large impact on complex social issues such as child abuse and neglect.

The six levels of the Spectrum (listed below) show a framework for a clear and comprehensive understanding of prevention. At each level, the most effective activities related to prevention objectives need to be identified and prioritized. As these activities are identified, they will lead to interrelated actions at other levels of the Spectrum.

The Spectrum was originally developed by Larry Cohen, MSW and became widespread through his work with the Prevention Institute, PreventionInstitute.org. It has been used nationally in prevention initiatives targeting traffic safety, violence prevention, injury prevention, nutrition, and fitness.

Because the Spectrum identifies multiple levels of simultaneous intervention, it encourages people to move beyond the idea that prevention is simply about teaching healthy behaviors to individuals or groups.