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Human Behavior and the Social Environment: Theory and Practice, CourseSmart eTextbook

By Joan Granucci Lesser, Donna Saia Pope

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Oct 12, 2007


This comprehensive text integrates multiple dimensions of the human experience in a reader-friendly style and provides the interface between human behavior theory and practice.


Human Behavior and the Social Environment, 1/e, introduces and incorporates current research on the biological, psychological, socio-cultural, and spiritual dimensions of human behavior throughout the life-cycle. The authors provide an appropriate focus on contemporary perspectives that are central to the practice of social work, such as trauma, neurobiological underpinnings of behavior, chronic illness and disability. They pay particular attention to models of racial, ethnic, class, gender and gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender identity development; to the influences of gender, sexual orientation, social class, race and culture on family structure and function, and to issues pertinent to a variety of “post-modern” family forms.


Additionally, the text explores macro influences of groups, communities and organizations in individual chapters. It also contains a chapter on social welfare policy that examines the impact of specific policies at each stage of the life-cycle and paves the way for new directions in research and future directions in policy and practice.

Table of Contents

PART I.  Conceptual Issues


Chapter 1.        An Integrating Framework for Human Behavior Theory and Social Work Practice

A.     Human Behavior Theory & Social Work Practice: An Historical Approach

l.         The roots of modern social work practice: A person-environment focus

2.    The Person

3.    The Environment

a.       The Settlement House Movement

b.      Social Welfare Systems in the African American Community

4.        The Emergence of the Medical Model

5.        Empowerment Perspectives: Integrating Groupwork and Emphasizing Racial Justice and Social Change

6.        The Diagnostic School and the Family Therapy Movement

7.        Historical Division by Professional Fields and Methods of Practice

8.        Reform Approaches

B.     Models For Integrating Human Behavior Theories And Practice Methods

1.      The Social Systems Model

2.      The Ecological Perspective

a.       Power, Oppression, and Strengths-based Perspectives

3.      An Ecosystems Approach

a.       An Ecosystems Approach and Generalist Models for Social Work Practice

b.      An Ecosystems Approach:  Fundamental Assumptions

4.   Characteristics of Living Systems

a    Boundaries

b    Adaptation

c    Steady State (sometimes referred to as equilibrium

d    Energy

e    Communication

5.   Example 1-1

a.       Reciprocal Causality: Systems in Transaction

b.      Adaptation

c.       Energy Flow and Steady State

d.      Communication and Feedback Mechanisms

C.     Contemporary Framework

1.      Developmental Contexualism: Assessing Risk and Protective Factors

2.      Community Based Practice

D.     Summary


Chapter 2.        Neurobiological Underpinnings of Human Development

A.           Psychobiological models of resilience

B.           The Neuroanatomy of the brain

1.      Functions of the limbic systems

2.      Functions of the parts of the brain

3.      How neurons communicate with each other

4.      Experiences and gene expression

C.           Neurobehavioral Disorders

1.      Autism

Case Example

2.      Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Case Example

3.      Asperger’s Disorder

Case Example

4.      Dyslexia

5.      Mental Retardation:

Case Example

D.     The Mood Disorders

1.  Depression

2.  Bi-Polar Disorder

3.  Generalized Anxiety Disorder

E.  Summary


PART II.  The Individual


Chapter 3.        Theories of Development

A.     Multicultural Theory

B.     Psychodynamic Theory

1.      Drive Theory

a.       Dynamic

b.      Economic

c.       Topographical

d.      Genetic

e.       Structural

f.        Interpersonal

g.       Cultural

h.       Treatment form a drive perspective

i.         Resistance

j.        Brief Intensive Psycotherapy (BIP)

2.      Ego Psychology

a.       Ego functions

b.      Defense Mechanisms

c.       Ego mastery and adaptation

d.      Psychosocial development

e.       Object Relations

f.        Treatment from an ego psychological perspective

3.      Object Relations Theory

a.       Interpersonal trauma

b.      Object relations and brief treatment

c.       Brief limited dynamic psychotherapy

4.   Self Psychology

a.       Treatment for a self psychological perspective

b.      Self psychology and brief treatment

C.     Cognitive Theory

1.      Cognitive specificity hypothesis

2.      Schemata

3.      Cognitive Distortions.

4.      Treatment agenda

5.      Rating Scales

D.     Behavioral Theory

1.      Reinforcement

2.      Social skills training

3.      Assertiveness training

4.      Imagery based techniques

E.      Constructivism

1.      Structural Determinism

2.      Autopoiesis

3.      Structural Coupling

F.      Cognitive Behavioral Constructivist theory

G.     Narrative Therapy

H.     Feminist Therapy

I.        Self In Theory

1.      Mutual empathy

2.      Relationship Authenticity

3.      Relationship Differentiation

4.      Self Empathy

J.       Theories of Play Therapy

1.      Psychoanalytic Play Therapy

2.      Relational Play Therapy

3.      Cognitive Behavioral Play Therapy

4.      Developmental Play Therapy

a. Theraplay

b. Filial Therapy

K.  Summary


Chapter 4.      Identity Development

A. Racial Identity Development

1. Black Identity Development

2. Biracial Identity Development

B. Ethnic Identity Development

1. White identity Development

C. Gender Identity development

1. Cognitive development theorists

D. Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Identity Development       

1. Homosexual Identity Development

2. Lesbian and Gay Identity Development

3. Bisexual and Transgender Identity Development

E. Social Class Identity

F. Summary


PART III.  The Sociocultural Context


Chapter 5.      The Family in Society

    A. The Family as a Societal Subsystem

         1. The Contemporary Family

2. The Family Defined

    a. The family of origin

    b. The family as intimate environment

3.  The Inner Life of the Family System

4.  The Family as a Social System

5.  Family Structure

    a. Subsystems

    b. Hierarchy

    c. Trinagles

    d. Boundaries

6.  Interactional Processes in Families

    a. Emotional Processes and Self-differentiation

    b. Emotional Expression

    c. Family Roles

7.  Patterns of Communication in Families

    a. Family Rules and Narratives

8.  The Family system over Time: Family Development, Stress, and Adaptation

    a. Stressful contact of one family member with the outside world.

    b. Stressful contact of the whole family with outside forces.

    c. Stress at transitional points in the family

    d. Stress from idiosyncratic problems

9.  Families on Context: Effects of Socioeconomic and Sociocultural Variables.

    a. Socio economic stress and the family

    b. Sociological perspective

    c. Families and macro systemic change

    d. Poverty, Race and the Family Life Cycle

    e. Unforeseen stressors and obstacles to employment

    f.. Single parent families and/or shortened family life cycle with unclear delineation of transitions

    g. Families and the Strengths Perspective

10.  Contextual Variations in Family Form

    a. Divorce and Reconstituted Families

    i  Divorce

    ii Blended or Reconstituted Families

    b. Gay and Lesbian Families

    c. Adaptive Families

    B.  Summary


Chapter 6.        Group-work Practice

A. Definition of a group

         1, Group Norms and Group Roles

2. Leadership

3. Power and Authority

4.  Role of the Group Leader

5.  Co-Leadership

B.  Pre-Group Planning: Group Structure and Stages of Group Development

         1. Group Structure

         2.  Social Context

         3. Agency Context and Sponsorship

         4.  Need

         5. Purpose

         6. Composition

         7. Structure

         8. Content

         9. Stages of Group Development and the Role of the Group Leader

         a. Planning or Pre-group Contact

         b. Beginnings (Inclusion/Orientation)

             i. Socio-emotional theme

             ii. Task

             iii. Role of the leader

         c. Middles (Uncertainty-Exploration)        

             i. Socio-emotional theme

             ii. Task

             iii. Role of the leader

         d. Middles (Mutuality Goal Achievement)         

             i. Socio-emotional theme

             ii. Task

             iii. Role of the leader

         e. Endings Separation-Termination        

             i. Socio-emotional theme

             ii. Task

             iii. Role of the leader

C. Types of Groups

         1, Task Groups

         a. Brainstorming

         b. Groupthink

         2. Treatment Groups

    a. Mutual Aid Group for people with AIDS

3.  Self-Help Groups

4.  Woman’s Groups

5.  Persons with Disabilities in Groups

6.  Technology-Mediated Groups

D.  Summary



Chapter 7.        Community and Organizations

    A.  Key Socio-Structural Concepts

1.  Social Structure

2. Power, Oppression, and Patterns of Social Interaction

B.  The Community Defined

C.  Community Functions

    1.  Production-distribution-consumption

    2.  Socialization

    3. Social control

    4. Social participation

    5. Mutual support

D. Community Competence

E. Community Structure

    1.  Community Sub-systems: Formal and Informal Structures

        2. Formal Organizations:  Bureaucracy and Scientific Management

        3. Organizational Auspices

        4. Rational and Non-rational processes in organizations

        5.  Informal structures in formal organizations

        6. Structural linkages in Organizational Communities

    F.  The Changing Societal Context For Community

        1. Structural changes in the economy

        2. Demographic changes

        3. Technological changes

        4. Poverty

        5. Changes in the Social Welfare System

        6. Formal Organizations: Changing Paradigms

    G. The Changing Character of Community Life: The Post-Modern


    1.  Production-Distribution-Consumption

        2. Socialization

        3. Social Control

        4. Social Participation

        5. Mutuality

    H. Contemporary Issues in Community Practice

        1. Community-based Practice:  Building a Bridge between Micro

 and Macro Practice

2. Community Building: An integrated Approach

3. Community Macro Practice: Skills and Strategies

    a. Assets and Capital : Economic, social, cultural and

  human resources  for community building

    G. Social Justice and Contemporary Communities

        1.  Example 1

        2.  Example 2

    H. Summary


Chapter 8.        Spiritual Development

A. Definitions of Spirituality

    B.  Cultural Diversity and Spirituality

    C.  Feminist Spirituality

    D.  Family and Community

    E.  Spirituality and Life Cycle Stages

    F.  Spiritual Assessment

        1. Questions for a Religious Community

         a. Placement within a religious community

        2.. Personal Meanings Attached to Symbols, Rituals,

Beliefs, and Devine Figures

3. Relationships to Religious Resources

4. FICA: A Spiritual Assessment

G. Summary


PART IV.  The Human Life Cycle


Chapter 9.  Infancy

A. The Inherent Nature of the Infant

    1. Sensory-Perceptual Capacities

    a. Vision

    b. Hearing

    c. Taste and Smell

    d. Touch

    e. Cross-modal perceptions

    2.  Innate Motivational and Behavioral Systems

    a. The Sociable Behavioral System

    b. The Attachment Behavioral System

3. Temperament          

    a. Temperamental Traits

    b. Physiological Underpinnings of Temperament

B. Developmental Maturation in Infancy

    1. Neurobiological Maturation

    2. Attachment

    3. The Caregiving System

    4. Purposes of the Attachment Bond

    a. Regulation of Affect and Arousal

    b. Provision of a Sense of Security and Protection.

    c. Communication and Expression of Feelings

    d. Provision of a Safe Base for Exploration

    5. Phases of Attachment Development

    6. Patterns of Attachment

    7. Culture and Attachment

C. Alternate Pathways for Attachment in Contemporary Life

    1. Substitute Child Care

    2. Adoption and Assisted Reproduction

D. Summary


Chapter 10.      Early Childhood: The Toddler and Early School Years

A. Biological-Psychological Development

    1. Neurobiological Development

    2. Motor Development

    3. Cognitive Development

    4. Language Development

    5. The Emerging Sense of Self

    a. The Sense of Self in the Toddler Years

    b. The Sense of Self in the Early School Years

        i. Gender identity

        ii. Self-Regulation (Self-Control) and Moral

B. Sociocultural Development: A Transactional View

C.  Peer Relationships and Play

    1. Peer Relationships

    2. Play

D. Impact of Individual Differences

    1. Temperament and “Goodness of Fit”

    2. Temperament and Culture

    3. Temperament and Parental Discipline Strategies

    4. Disabilities

    a. Learning Disabilities

    5. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

    6. Pervasive Developmental Disorders

E. Contextual Variables

    1. The Childrearing Environment

    a. Culture, Social Class, and Childrearing Style

    b. Parental Discipline Strategies

    c. Attachment

    d. Strategies for teaching and strengthening desirable


    e. Strategies to eliminate undesirable behaviors

F. School Readiness and Later School Achievement

    1. Children with Disabilities

    2.  Children from Culturally and Economically Disadvantaged


G. Summary



Chapter 11.      Middle Childhood

A.  Biological and Physical Development

    B.  Psychological Development

    C.  Cognitive Development

    D.  Moral Development

    E.  Gender Development

    F.  Racial and Identity Development

    G  Parental Influences: The Importance of Attachments

    H.  Attachment to Peers

    I.  SocioCultural Developments

        1.  School Influences

        2.  Special Education

        a. Oppositional Defiant Disorder

        b. Conduct Disorder

    J  Maltreatment During Middle Childhood

        1.  Physical Abuse

        2.  Sexual Abuse

        3.  Neglect

    K  Summary


Chapter 12.      Adolescence

    `           A Biological development

    B. Psychological Development

    C.  Sexual Identity Development

    D.  Ethnic and Racial Identity Development

    E.  Cognitive Development                        1.  Information-Processing Approach

        2.  Cultural-Context Approach

    F.  Sociocultural Developments

1.  Parental Influences. The Changing Significance of Attachments

2.  Attachment to Peers

3.  School Influences

4.  Community Influences

    a. Delinquency, Crime, and Violence    

    b. Substance Use and Abuse   

    c. Unsafe sex, teenage pregnancy, and teenage parenting          

G.  Disability and Chronic Illness in Adolescence.

1.  Depression and Anxiety in Adolescents.

        2.  Eating Disorders

    H.  Summary.


Chapter 13.      Early Adulthood

    A  Biological and Psychological Systems

1. Physical Development and Functioning

    2.  Neurological Development and Cognitive Functioning

    B.  Socio-Cultural System:  Development in Context

        1 Changing Relationship with the Family of Origin

        2 Forming Intimate Relationships

        3.  The Parenting Role

        4.  Entering the World of Work

    C.  Contextual Variations

        1.  Gay and Lesbian Young Adults

        2.  The Impact of Disability in Young Adulthood

        3.  Domestic Violence

    D.  Summary


Chapter 14.      Middle Adulthood

    `           A Physiological Changes

        1.  Woman

        2.  Men

    B. Cognitive

    C. Psychological

        1.  Midlife Crisis

    D.  Sociohistorical Context

    E.  Race and Culture

    F.  Intimate Relationships in Midlife

        1, Divorce

        2. Widowhood

    G.  Parenting in Midlife

    H.  Grandparenting in Midlife

        1. Surrogate Grandparenting

    I.  Middle Life Adults and Aging Parents

    J.  Gender Differences in Midlife

    K. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, And Transgender Midlife Development

    L.  Philosophical Issues

    M. Work in the Middle Years

    N.  Summary.

Chapter 15.      Older Adulthood

    A Trends and Concepts

        1.  Rapidly Changing Context

        2.  The Biology of Aging

        a. Genetic Theories

        b. Biochemical Theories

        3. Poverty and Ethnicity

        4.  Healthcare and Ethnicity

        5. Rural Elders

    B. Social-Psychological Perspectives on Late Adulthood Development

        1. Stage Theory

        2. Disengagement Theory

        3. Activity Theory and its Close Relative Continuity Theory

        4.  Social Construction Theory

    C. Physical and Mental Health in Older Adults

        1.  Physical Health

        a. Chronic  Conditions

        b. Social work interventions

        2.  Mental Health

        a.  Depression and anxiety

        b.  Alzheimer’s Disease

        i.  Three Stages of Alzheimer’s Disease

        ii.  Recent breakthrough studies on prevention of

             Alzheimer’s Disease

        iii. Prevention intervention

        3.  The Frail Elderly

    D.  Contemporary Contexts

        1.  End of Life Issues

        a. Advanced directives

        b. Hospice care

        2.  Long-term Care

        3.  Elder Abuse

        4.  Retirement

    E.  Summary

Chapter 16.      Trauma and Development

    `           A Types of Trauma

        1.  Acute Stress Disorder

2.      Posttraumatic Stress Disorder

B.     Assessment of Trauma

C.     Neurobiology of Trauma

1.      Traumatic Memories

2.      Trauma and Dissociation

D.     Treatment of Trauma

1.      Safety

a.       Case Example

2.      Remembrance and Mourning

a.       Case Example

3.      Reconnection

a.       Case Example

E.      Trauma and Children

1.      Treatment Related Disturbances in Children

2.      Child Maltreatment

3.      Play Therapy in the Treatment of Traumatized Children

a.       Level 1

b.      Level 2

c.       Level 3

d.      Level 4

4.      Case Example

F.      Trauma and Aging

1.      Case Example

G.     Trauma and Culture

1.      Case Example

2.      Cultural Transference

H.     Racial Trauma

1. Case Example

    I.  The Helpers

    J.  Summary


Chapter 17.     Chronic Illness and Disability

A.     Definition of Disability

B.     Types of Disabilities

1. Progressive Permanent Conditions

a.       Diabetes

b.      Cancer

c.       Rheumatoid Arthritis

d.      HIV-AIDs

2.Constant Permanent Conditions

a.       Deafness

b.      Blindness and Visual Impairment

3.  Relapsing or Episodic Conditions

a. Multiple Sclerosis

b. Systemic lupus

c. Fibrosistis or Fibromyalgia

d. Chronic Pain

         i. Sensory physiology of pain

         ii Psychological response to pain

         iii. Pain Behaviors

4.  Psychiatric Disabilities

5.  Disability across the Lifecycle

    a. Birth to Age 3

    b. 3 to 6 Years of age

    c. 6 to 12 years of age

    d. 12 to 18 years of age

    e. Young adulthood/adulthood

    f. Middle adulthood

    g. Older adulthood

C.  Disability Culture

    1. Disability and Diversity

D.  Family Adjustment to Disability

    1.  The Family Systems-Illness Model

    a. Constellations

    b. Adaptability

    c. Cohesion

    d. Generational Boundaries

    e. Family-Community Boundaries

E.  Disabilities and Abuse of Woman

F.  Sociological Aspects of Chronic Illness and Disability

    1  Case Example

G.  Summary


PART V.     Policy

Chapter 18.  Social Policy through the Life Cycle

A.     The Functions of Social Welfare: A System’s Perspective

B.     The Enduring Debate about Social Welfare

1.  Scope of Social Welfare Problem vs. Population Focus

a. Income Support Programs

b. Insurance Programs

c. Public Assistance

d. Healthcare Programs

C.  Social Welfare Programs Across the Life Cycle

    1.  Infancy, Early, and Middle Childhood

    2.  Adolescence

    3. Young Adulthood and Midlife

    4.  Older Adulthood

D.  Summary


Appendix:         A. Genogram

    B.  Eco Map

    C. Social Network Map

    D. Culturagram

    E.  Standards for Social Work Practice in Groups



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