Week 9: The Body, the Mind, and the Environment: Biopsychosocial and Systems Theories
At the beginning of the course, you were introduced to many different psychological perspectives. As you progressed through the course you explored theories that were based on a single perspective, such as Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning from the behaviorist perspective, and theories that were based on more than one perspective, such as Bandura’s social cognitive theory from the behaviorist and cognitive perspectives. Along the way, you may have seen the benefit of examining human behavior from multiple perspectives or you may have arrived at the conclusion that there is rarely just one cause or explanation for human behavior. Systems theory, as developed by Ludwig von Bertalanffy, involves the examination of human growth and change from multiple influences that do not follow a linear (i.e., cause and effect) path.
This week, you will evaluate and apply two different systems theories: Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model and Engel’s biopsychosocial model. You will also continue to populate the Psychology Theories Template, which is due at the end of Week 11.
Analyze the contribution of systems on individual development
Apply the Biopsychosocial model to a health issue
Evaluate key concepts of systems and biopsychosocial theories
Discussion 1: Systems Theory: Systems, Settings, and Sources of Influence
One of the most well-known systems theories in psychology is Bronfenbrenner’s ecological model. The model consists of several interrelated systems, beginning with the individual at the center then expanding to include the individual’s immediate family and friends (microsystem); extended family, school, and work (exosystem); and culture and society as a whole (macrosystem). This model can be used as a framework to understand human development and behavior and to design effective interventions to address many different psychological and societal issues.
Consider how this model might be applied to better understand the development and behaviors of a transgender teenager. Suppose the teenager, who now calls herself Shelly, has recently informed her parents and close friends that she would like to officially transition to being a girl. Initially she is overjoyed that her parents and close friends are supportive (microsystem). Then, after attending school for a week and going to a family reunion dressed as a girl, Shelly is met with harsh criticisms from some of her peers and teachers at school as well as her grandparents (exosystem). In fact, she overhears her parents and grandparents arguing about her transition and is immediately overcome by guilt and despair. Finally, while she is encouraged by positive media regarding a celebrity who recently transitioned, she is saddened to learn that the larger public opinion and recent government policies are discriminatory to transgendered persons (macrosystem). Therefore, due to her desire to become accepted at school, by her grandparents, and by society at large, she decides to stop her transition even though it causes her great distress to do so.
This example illustrates the complex and competing pressures among the systems of Bronfenbrenner’s model, which can affect the thoughts, feelings, and behaviors of the individual at the center of the model. In this discussion, you will consider how the model applies to the competing pressures in your own life.
Read the article, General systems theory: Its past and potential. Pay particular attention to how von Bertalanffy’s general system theory originated and evolved and how the author of the article characterizes the terms, “systems,” “structures,” and “relations.”
Review pp. 514-515 of Bronfenbrenner (1977) to understand the definitions of each system within the ecological systems model.
Review Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Model, located in this week’s learning resources. Focus on the meaning and interrelationships among the microsystem, exosystem, and macrosystem from a child’s perspective. Consider how these systems would be generalized to apply to an adult.
Using Bronfenbrenner’s model, identify two out of three systems (microsystem, exosystem, macrosystem) and their settings (school, work, family gatherings, neighborhood, country, etc.). Think about how demands and expectations in one setting might impact your ability to meet demands and expectations in another setting.
By Day 3
Post a response to the following:
Identify the two systems you chose and describe settings within each system that influence your life and behavior/activity. Then explain how demands and expectations in one setting could impact the ability to meet demands and expectations in another setting. Be specific.
Note: Support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and any additional sources you identify using both in-text citations and references. It is strongly recommended that you include proper APA format and citations.
In the current world, humans are involved in different life situations; the invention of the internet has made the world a global village. The American psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner's concept on ecological system theory tried to explain how human life is built through interaction with the environment, thus influencing how they develop and grow (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). Based on the theory view, it is evident that individuals can adapt to any change in the environment. For instance, the recent case of Covid-19 is an example of an environmental situation that made people change their lifestyles. From the theory perspective, it is evident that we encounter different environments throughout our lifespan, which influences our behavior in varying degrees.
Based on the concept of Urie Bronfenbrenner, the two systems I have identified are Microsystem and mesosystem. For instance, the Microsystem refers to complex relations that develop between a developing person and environment in an immediate setting. My Microsystem involves my brother and mother together with part of my family member. I am part of the family most of the time when at home, so I make sure my small brother is clean and assist my mother in meal preparation. Even though the duties I do are significant, they are time-consuming. Based on this system, the family is the most influential development; thus, as you mature as an individual, the range of emotion grows to include the influence of expanding environment (Rus et al., 2015).
In addition, the macrosystem involves the individual experiences in social structures and new activities that influence development. For instance, given that I was a student at the university, my course required that at least once a week, I take a few hours to visit patients in the hospital and make them feel loved. At the same time, I need to take my young brothers for physical excessive to remain physically fit. Therefore, in order to achieve the requirement of the two have to take time from each one.
In conclusion, based on the two systems, in order to meet demand and expectations, I have to focus on my mind and body. Given that both the setting is important, I need to make sure that I consider every separate entity on a balanced time to avoid burnout due to the biopsychosocial model (Wijenberg et al., 2016). In addition, given my love for the environment I serve, it will be significant to meet the demand and expectations of every entity I am involved in.
Bronfenbrenner, U. (1977). Toward an experimental ecology of human development. American psychologist, 32(7), 513.
Rus, A. V., Lee, W. C., Salas, D. B. B., Parris, S. R., Webster, R. D., Lobo, A. R., ... & Popa, C (2015). Bronfenbrenner's Ecological System Theory and the Experience of Institutionalization of Romanian Children1.
Wijenberg, M. L., Stapert, S. Z., Köhler, S., & Bol, Y. (2016). Explaining fatigue in multiple sclerosis: cross-validation of a biopsychosocial model. Journal of behavioral medicine, 39(5), 815-822.
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