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 defines as “relationship, community, and societal” influences (see figure below).


This comprehensive public health approach requires working at multiple levels to address an individual’s risk factors, as well as the norms, beliefs, and social and economic systems that make sexual violence more likely to occur.

The mutually reinforcing components of MCSR’s comprehensive Strength Campaign address all the different levels of the ecological model. MCSR’s youth development programs, the Men of Strength (MOST) Club in middle and high schools and Campus MOST Club in colleges and universities, work at the level of the individual by helping members to build a healthier masculinity. These young men, in turn, go onto work at the relationship level by positively influencing peers, teachers, and family. They next work at the level of community when they implement a Community Strength Project designed to have an impact on their entire school. Finally, MCSR’s social marketing campaigns, launched city, state, or nationwide, influences social norms at the societal level.