Social Ecological Model

The social ecological model, advocated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as a model for primary prevention of sexual assault, recognizes that individuals do not exist in isolation. Instead, they exist within complex interplays of contextual factors, both micro and macro, that the model describes as “individual, relationship, community, and societal” (see figure below).


MCSR’s comprehensive Healthy Masculinity Action Project (HMAP) – consisting of varied MCSR programming and campaigns devoted to promoting the practice of healthy masculinity – addresses all the different levels of the ecological model.

Here are examples of how MCSR’s Men of Strength (MOST) Club, Healthy Masculinity Community Conversations, Healthy Masculinity Training Institute, and Where Do You Stand? apply to the four levels:

1.      INDIVIDUAL: Training Men of Strength (MOST) Club facilitators prepares them to support individual MOST Club members’ efforts to build their own healthy definitions of masculinity.

2.      RELATIONSHIP: The facilitators and club members, in turn, address the relationship level by positively influencing teachers, family, and other students through their practice of healthy masculinity. Another example: MCSR’s 3-day Healthy Masculinity Training Institute prepares prevention trainers to conduct workshops and trainings that increase bystander intervention skill development through healthy masculinity.

3.      COMMUNITY: A MOST Club and its facilitators implement a Community Strength Project, such as organizing a Healthy Masculinity Conversation for their school. A local organization launches in the community the Where Do You Stand? bystander intervention campaign, designed specifically for young men.

4.      SOCIETAL: MOST Club members collaborate with other student groups to review and provide feedback regarding their state’s sexual assault and dating violence policies for schools, influencing norms at the societal level.

Download the CDC’s Sexual Violence Prevention: Beginning the Dialogue to learn more about the social ecological model.

To read about Primary Prevention, please click here.