The Guidebook to Effective Prevention of Youth Problems

How to order the Guidebook


The Guidebook to Effective Prevention of Youth Problems written by Szymon Grzelak, PhD (Institute for Integrated Prevention).
Link to the 
Polish version of Guidebook in PDF format.
Click here
 to order the Guidebook


The Guidebook to Effective Prevention of Youth Problems1 was developed by a team from the European Institute for Integrated Prevention and published in October 2017.

The publication summarizes the experience of many years of positive work of its authors. In our opinion, it is strategically important in establishing the foundations for a coherent action programme in the area of education and prevention that is based on scientific research, values, and practical experience. The recommendations included in The Guidebook should be known by social, educational, and health policy makers.

The first, Polish edition of the The Guidebook to Effective Prevention of Youth Problems was co-financed by the EU's European Social Fund and published in 2015. Link to the entire Guidebook in Polish in PDF format.

The Polish edition of The Guidebook to Effective Prevention of Youth Problems was distributed by the CED to the education departments of all local government authorities in Poland. Its recommendations have been recently incorporated by the Ministry of Health in their work on the National Public Health Programme 2016-20. The authors are making great efforts for the publication to reach other institutions as well. The Guidebook is written in an intelligible language and it takes the form of a hybrid between a scientific report and a practical guide.



Opinions of reviewers

Our youth in many nations around the world are trying to cope with many risk factors in their lives and not succeeding. Fortunately, this new book, The Guidebook to Effective Prevention of Youth Problems, presents both effective solutions, and even more importantly, it lays out in clear language many empirically and practically tested strategies for prevention! I endorse it wholeheartedly for everyone who wants to make a positive difference in saving the hearts and souls of our next generation while also enriching their minds.

Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD
Professor Emeritus
Stanford University, USA


The Guidebook contradicts many harmful negative myths concerning adolescents. The results of the authors' research challenge the popular view that teenagers generally reject adult authority. In my practical experience, I see how essential the role of mothers and grandmothers is in the lives of young people, and it is them to whom adolescents turn first if they are in need. This observation is in harmony with the authors' research results, showing that the majority of adolescents point to their mother, father and grandmother as the most important life guides. This valuable publication can help professionals as well as local and state authorities to appreciate and respect the fundamental role of the family in their daily work with youth.

Ms Axelle Trillard
Coach supporting mothers
MA in psychology and philosophy, France


Grzelak's The Guidebook to Effective Prevention of Youth Problems is today's most positive book about youth challenges. Based on sound reasoning and strong evidence, impressively researched and accessibly written, this book provides hope and help to the new generation. It is also a welcome relief to see how important parents and the family are, and the values passed on by them, in supporting the healthy development of adolescents. I hope this publication will be widely used.

Petar Valkov, PhD
Chief Assistant Professor of Psychology
Trakia University, Bulgaria


The Guidebook is based on a very thorough scientific, methodological, and statistical analysis. It reaches the deep foundations of prevention and not its surface. It suggests tackling the broadest possible real social base (rather than a virtual one - which is a common practice today), in the context of the positive aspects of people's functioning, and not its defects. I highly recommend reading this valuable and unique work.

Leszek Putyński, PhD
Doctor of Medicine, Clinical Psychologist
University of Łódź, Poland


Foreword to the English Edition

Dear International Reader,

Youth are the future of the world. Youth are the future of every country, every local community and every family. There is no better investment in the future than investing in youth. This book is a brave and professional inspiration that you can use to better support the healthy development of the young generation.

The modern world is full of divisions and brings many global dangers. Yet, at the same time, it offers new, previously unheard of and unique opportunities for cooperation. The strategic publication of the European Institute for Integrated Prevention that you hold in your hands is an invitation to international cooperation to support youth development and reduce the barriers and risks that might hamper their development.

During the last year - between July 2016 and June 2017 - we presented our approach to research on youth and to supporting youth development at a number of international conferences and workshops. Our Institute organized such conferences in Poland, Germany, and France. We were invited to Hungary, Russia, and Italy. Some of those conferences hosted participants from European countries, others - representatives of different continents. We were surprised and happy to see their lively interest in our research methods, results, and the recommendations based on them. We saw how necessary it is to provide a brave, holistic but also rational vision of youth development support and problem prevention. The interest in the integrated approach to prevention was equally lively on the part of professionals from Eastern European countries as those from Western Europe; from both highly developed countries (like the USA and Canada) and the developing countries in Africa and Asia. As evidence of this interest, we received many letters asking for our book, the Polish Vademecum, to be translated into English, and for international research and practical cooperation to be initiated. The present publication answers this need.

Good international cooperation requires mutual respect. It calls for recognizing and appreciating the positive potential of each country that wants to join it. Representatives of each nation can contribute their own values due to their unique history and culture. Affirmation of the positive potential contributed by the cultural heritage of different countries and appreciation of their values provides a better foundation for cooperation than attempts at unification or standardization, based on underestimation or denial of cultural differences. The inspiration for cooperation that you hold in your hands comes from Poland. A few words should be said, then, about the history and potential of the country of its authors.

Poland, as a country, is located in the geographical centre of Europe. For over one thousand years, it has culturally belonged to the West. It has continually drawn on the rich achievements of the West for centuries, while at the same time actively contributing to them. Poland is the historical borderland between Western and Eastern Europe, and was for centuries the meeting point of Western Christianity with the Orthodox Church, Judaism and Islam. In the 16th and 17th centuries, when Europe was caught up in religious wars and persecutions, Poland stood out with its openness and religious tolerance. It is here that numerous refugees from Western countries, of different denominations, found asylum. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, Poland experienced many devastating wars. Periods of foreign occupation were much longer than the brief moments of independence. Poland is a country that still has many traces of the destructive power of totalitarian ideologies brought on by the bayonets of foreign superpowers - first fascism, then communism. Poles have greatly contributed to abolishing both ideologies in Europe. Despite so many adversities, Poland has retained its identity, values, culture, and dynamism. Due to all this experience, Poles highly value their own freedom, and feel a rational distrust towards ideologies imposed on them in a top-down manner. For the same reason, they naturally sympathize with all nations in the world that fight for freedom in the face of political, military, economic or ideological pressure. Politically, Poland is a member of the European Union. At the same time, it has long ceased to be a military or economic superpower whose domination could be feared by anyone. Poles are a nation in which the family is treated as a central value. Respect for the woman and the mother is a part of our cultural tradition. And, last but not least, Poland's achievements in the field of youth problem prevention are among the greatest in Europe. This is confirmed by experiences from many international meetings and conferences.

All of these factors combine to make Poland a good place for the seat of the European Institute for Integrated Prevention, and a centre of international cooperation.

The original Polish edition of this book was prepared by the Institute for Integrated Prevention (IPZIN) as part of a project financed with funds from the European Union, and precisely, from the European Social Fund. It was published and directly commissioned by the Centre for Education Development (Ośrodek Rozwoju Edukacji), subordinate to the Ministry of National Education. The publication was directed toward representatives of

Polish local and national authorities and Polish professionals - both practitioners and researchers.

The English-language edition has been entirely prepared by the European Institute for Integrated Prevention (EIIP) - a new, international institution, recently formed by the Institute for Integrated Prevention. Ninety percent of the content of the English edition corresponds to that of the Polish edition. The remaining 10% covers changes resulting from the need to adapt the text for international readers, as well as updates due to the two-year gap between the publishing of the Polish and the English editions.

Polish studies on youth are discussed in the Guidebook most extensively. However, this should not diminish the fact that recommendations resulting from these studies are more universal in nature, and that they are also supported by international research. We have recognized that setting the book in the Polish reality and retaining references to the Polish legal system is also valuable for readers from other countries. Every country has a different legal and cultural context. The Guidebook to Effective Prevention may be an inspiration as to how to use this context. But reflecting on how to use the Guidebook's recommendations in the context of your country's individual situation is your own creative task, Dear Reader.

We hope to publish a new English-language edition of the Guidebook in a few years' time. We would like to present more study results from different countries in it. We hope that some of the readers of the present edition will feel encouraged to conduct similar studies in their countries in cooperation with EIIP. Initial talks are already being held with researchers from some countries.

This publication is the first step in a fascinating cooperative adventure to which you are cordially invited, Dear Reader. It is the future that is at stake in this adventure, because youth are the future. The better we support youth in preparing for their journey of life, the brighter our common future will be.

Szymon Grzelak, PhD
Chairman of the Board
The European Institute for Integrated Prevention 


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