The Spectrum of Prevention: Developing a Comprehensive Approach To Injury Prevention

The Spectrum of Prevention helps expand prevention efforts beyond education models by promoting a multifaceted range of activities for effective prevention. Originally developed by Larry Cohen while he was director of the Contra Costa Health Services Prevention Program, the Spectrum is based on the work of Dr. Marshall Swift in treating developmental disabilities. It has been used nationally in prevention initiatives targeting traffic safety, violence prevention, injury prevention, nutrition, and fitness.

The Spectrum identifies multiple levels of intervention and encourages people to move beyond the perception that prevention is about teaching healthy behaviors. The Spectrum‘s six levels for strategy development (listed below) is a framework for a more comprehensive understanding of prevention. These levels are complementary and when used together produce a synergy that results in greater effectiveness than would be possible by implementing any single activity. At each level, the most important activities related to prevention objectives should be identified. As these activities are identified, they will lead to interrelated actions at other levels of the Spectrum.