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Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 SYSTEMS THEORY AND THE ECOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE The biological, psychological, and sociological influences on human development A bio-psycho-social perspective This multimedia product and its contents are protected under copyright law. The following are prohibited by law: Any public performance or display, including transmission of any image over a network; Preparation of any derivative work, including extraction, in whole or in part, of any images; Any rental, lease, or lending of the program. HUMAN BEHAVIOR IN THE SOCIAL ENVIRONMENT Andrew T. Nilsson, Ph.D. Eastern Connecticut State University Andrew T. Nilsson, Ph.D. Eastern Connecticut State University
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 THE MEDICAL MODEL An early model for social work practice STUDY DIAGNOSIS TREATMENT CURE Assessment DSM IV Therapy Cure? Focus on the individual with the problem Assumes the professional has the knowledge and power to cure
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What were the bio-psycho-social factors that had most influence in making you the person you are today? BIOLOGICAL FACTORS? PSYCHOLOGICAL FACTORS? SOCIAL FACTORS? THINK AND SHARE
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 BIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES Common biological factors: –Physical appearance; sex; race; age; abilities or disabilities; family history of inheritable conditions such as cancer, alcoholism, schizophrenia, depression, etc. Do we start with a clean slate? –No. At birth our slate is already written on by by heredity –But environmental factors influence the unfolding of biological development. Einstein would not have become Einstein if he had been born into a family that could not feed him or who failed to provide him with intellectual stimulation. Is biology destiny? –The nature-nurture, heredity v. environment debate –Can we modify biological inheritance? Genetic engineering, mapping of the human genome, genetic selection
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCES Intelligence Personality Self-image Where does your psychological make-up come from? –Inheritance (biology) –Experiences (sociology) Cooley’s looking glass self – we learn who we are from how others treat us Useful theory? One person may be strengthened by growing up with an alcoholic parent; another destroyed. What makes the difference? Important issue – application of theory to practice: –If behavior learned (a response to environment) it can be unlearned –If behavior inherited, change may be more problematic. Can the leopard change its spots?
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 SOCIAL INFLUENCES People: Family and family relationships; relationships with key individuals (parent, grandparent, spouse, significant other) –Influence can be positive or negative; nurturing and supportive or destructive –Clearly people are an important part of the factors which make us who we are. Social environment: community, neighborhood Economics: economic status influences resources and opportunities available to the individual Religion Moral: bio-psycho-social factors interact to make us who we are.
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 REVIEW BIO-PSYCHO-SOCIAL INFLUENCES BIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES: –Physical appearance; sex; race; age; abilities or disabilities; family history of inheritable conditions such as cancer, alcoholism, schizophrenia, depression, etc. PSYCHOLOGICAL INFLUENCES: –Intelligence, personality, self-image SOCIOLOGICAL INFLUENCES: –People (family, peers, significant others), social environment (community, neighborhood), economics, religion
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 SYSTEMS THEORY A way of looking at individuals and their complex environment; the interactive patterns between people, groups, and institutions System: A group of objects within a boundary Each object has a defined function and structural relationship to the other objects within the system The objects are engaged in a dynamic process
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 SYSTEMS solar system clock human body Boundary Defined function Structural relationship Dynamic process
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 BOUNDARIES Separate system from external environment – other systems Separate subsystems within the system Separate “personal space” – define individual units which comprise the system Boundaries may be permeable or impermeable –Closed systems – self-contained; little influence form outside –Open systems – active exchange with external environment
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 A CHANGE IN ONE PART OF A SYSTEM AFFECTS ALL PARTS HOMEOSTASIS - DISEQUILIBRIUM - ADAPTATION What would happen if Earth were destroyed by a nuclear war?
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 A CHANGE IN ONE PART OF A SYSTEM AFFECTS ALL PARTS HOMEOSTASIS - DISEQUILIBRIUM - ADAPTATION Earth becomes cosmic dust. The gravitational balance of the solar system is thrown out of wack. DISEQUILIBRIUM
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 A CHANGE IN ONE PART OF A SYSTEM AFFECTS ALL PARTS HOMEOSTASIS - DISEQUILIBRIUM - ADAPTATION Gradually the planets settle into new orbits. A new equilibrium (homeostasis) is achieved. ADAPTATION
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 HUMAN SYSTEMS SOCIETY – OUR SOCIAL SYSTEM FAMILY ECONOMY RELIGION POLITICS EDUCATION LEGAL The systems perspective portrays society as a smoothly operating network of social institutions. Each institution performs some function or functions essential to the maintenance of the society. Our social institutions are interdependent. Each relies on and supports the others. A change in one social institution will impact the entire society.
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 HUMAN SYSTEMS SOCIETY – OUR SOCIAL SYSTEM FAMILY ECONOMY RELIGION POLITICS EDUCATION LEGAL Equifinality refers to the fact that there are many different means to the same ends. Social institutions take different forms in other societies; perform their essential functions in different ways. The boundary of our social system is the outer limit of people who live by our social institutions – the American way of life.
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 THE FAMILY AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM THE SMITH FAMILY F ATHER JOHN MOTHER MARY
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 THE FAMILY AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM The Smith family: Father, mother, John, Mary What are the elements of the Smith family system? What are the boundaries of the Smith family system? –Nuclear family –Extended family Each member has a role (essential function)to play –Father: instrumental role (bread winner) –Mother: expressive/affective role (homemaker/nurturer) –Children? What about Fleazie, the Smith family cat? –In work with families, the relevant system may not be the biological nuclear family. May include other relatives and/or unrelated household members. Family is best defined by the people who live in it.
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 SUBSYSTEMS IN THE SMITH FAMILY Put focus on different aspects of family functioning Parental unit Marital unit Siblings Parent-child subsystem(s) Change and the Smith family system: Change in one part of a system effects all parts What happens when Mrs. Smith gets a job? Is the Smith family an open or closed family system?
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 SYSTEM LEVELS Microsystems – The smallest unit of analysis – typically the individual. Mezzo systems – Typically small groups in which individuals are involved – family, friendship groups, work groups. Macro systems – The largest units of analysis – society, culture, social institutions, communities, organizations Exosystems – Systems outside the immediate area of analysis which may have an impact on it
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 Systems/ecological perspective Person-in-environment Social work views the individual in the context of his/her surrounding social systems. Bio-psycho-social perspective Biological – genetic/physical make-up Psychological – emotional (affective), intellectual (cognitive), self-image, etc. Social – interactions with others Social work views individuals as multi-dimensional systems.
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 Your family system What are the elements that make up your family system? What systems outside of your family system (exo- systems) does your family depend upon? What systems outside of your family depend upon your family? THINK AND SHARE
Copyright © Allyn & Bacon 2003 USEFUL WEB SITE Robert Versteeg, MSW of the University of New England Main Geriatrics Gerentology Education Center describes the application of systems theory in work with an elderly client. devel.une.edu/com/othrdept/int/agingandsocialwork/systems.htm
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