In Brazil, it is impressive the number of teenagers and young adults living in situations of personal and social risk, such as poverty, improper housing conditions and lack of education and work opportunities which jeopardize their healthy development. Several limitations imposed by social context make Brazilian youth particularly vulnerable to undesired paths in their growth and social well-being. Although a risk environment may lead to risk behaviour, it’s necessary to stress that it is not a linear equation since personal, historical and cultural conditions create different possibilities of coping with and resisting to risky circumstances. In order to understand Brazilian youth reality in depth and contribute to the improvement of actual public policy a large scale research about youth populations in Brazil has been conducted by the academic work group « Youth, resilience and vulnerability » entailed to a national association of research in Psychology (ANPEPP- Associação Nacional de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação em Psicologia). The first stage of this research occurred between 2005 and 2008 and involved 7400 youth between the ages of 14 to 24 of different regions of the country. An extensive questionnaire embracing a large number of factors of personal and social risk and protection was applied. Today the second stage of the research is carried out in Fortaleza, the capital of the state of Ceará, by a team of researchers from the Psychology Department of Universidade Federal do Ceará. The sample is composed by 1000 youth which respond to the same instrument briefly modified. Part of these subjects also participate in three qualitative studies based on environmental psychology, narrative psychology (autobiographies) and media issues. The quantitative survey suggests new perspectives on vulnerability and brings new results from present data, such as the concept of socialenvironmental vulnerability, defined as the spacial coexistence or superposition among populational groups which are very poor and highly deprived (social vulnerability) and areas of environmental risk or degradation. As in the first stage, the main objetive of the study is to obtain a biosocial and demographic profile of Fortaleza’s adolescents and youth between the ages of 14 and 24, from public schools, focusing aspects related to family, education and work, health and quality of life, risk behaviour and social and personal factors of risk and protection. A few methodological changes are being planned and introduced at the moment such as the inclusion of participants from district areas not defined by low income or low human development indicators, inclusion of students of private schools, formulation of other qualitative issues for research, improvement of the questionnaire to explore specific topics which were not studied earlier. At the moment, researchers are discussing the results of a pilot study conducted with 64 students in two public schools in Fortaleza (one which offers further social support for students through artistic training and help for school homework and the other which offers formal education for students out of regular age). Basically the results have been useful to formulate new hypotheses to be explored throughout the survey: there is a positive correlation between the number of home residents and social vulnerability; all the subjects belong to a socially vulnerable population with an average family income less than 180 euros per month , and a significant percentage of students abandon school early to work and help increase family earnings. Researchers are also starting to conduct the qualitative studies by collecting data about environment, media and life history topics related to social and personal risk for teenagers and young adults.