Ecological systems theory

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Ecological systems theory, also called development in context or human ecology theory, identifies five environmental systems with which an individual interacts. This theory provides the framework from which community psychologists study the relationships with individuals' contexts within communities and the wider society. Ecological systems theory was developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner.

The five systems[edit]

Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory

The person's own biology may be considered part of the microsystem; thus the theory has recently sometimes been called "Bio-Ecological Systems Theory."

Per this theoretical construction, each system contains roles, norms and rules which may shape psychological development. For example, an inner-city family faces many challenges which an affluent family in a gated community does not, and vice versa. The inner-city family is more likely to experience environmental hardships, like crime and squalor. On the other hand the sheltered family is more likely to lack the nurturing support of extended family.[3]

Since its publication in 1979, Bronfenbrenner's major statement of this theory, The Ecology of Human Development [4] has had widespread influence on the way psychologists and others approach the study of human beings and their environments. As a result of his groundbreaking work in "human ecology", these environments — from the family to economic and political structures — have come to be viewed as part of the life course from childhood through adulthood.

Bronfenbrenner has identified Soviet developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky and German-born psychologist Kurt Lewin as important influences on his theory.

Bronfenbrenner's work provides one of the foundational elements of the ecological counseling perspective, as espoused by Robert K. Conyne, Ellen Cook, and the University of Cincinnati Counseling Program.

There are many different theories related to human development. The ecological theory emphasizes environmental factors as playing the major role to development.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kail, R. V., & Cavanaugh, J. C. (2010). The Study of Human Development. Human Development: A Life-span View (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.
  2. ^ a b Santrock, John W. (2007). A Topical Approach to Life-Span Development. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
  3. ^ Vander Zanden, J. W., Crandell, T. L., Crandell, C. H. (2007).Human Development. 8th edition (ed.), New York: McGraw Hill.
  4. ^ Bronfenbrenner, U. (1979). The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature and Design. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. (ISBN 0-674-22457-4)

Further reading[edit]

Ecological Systems Review The ecological framework facilitates organizing information about people and their environment in order to understand their interconnectedness. Individuals move through a series of life transitions, all of which necessitate environmental support and coping skills. Social problems involving health care, family relations, inadequate income, mental health difficulties, conflicts with law enforcement agencies, unemployment, educational difficulties, and so on can all be subsumed under the ecological model, which would enable practitioners to assess factors that are relevant to such problems (Hepworth, Rooney, Rooney, Strom-Gottfried, & Larsen, 2010, p. 16). Thus, examining the ecological contexts of parenting success of children with disabilities is particularly important. Utilizing Bronfenbrenner’s (1977, 1979) ecological framework, this article explores parenting success factors at the micro- (i.e., parenting practice, parent-child relations), meso- (i.e., caregivers’ marital relations, religious social support), and macro-system levels (i.e., cultural variations, racial and ethnic disparities, and health care delivery system) of practice.