Different Social Ecological Perspectives Sociology Essay Example
Different Social Ecological Perspectives Sociology Essay Example

Different Social Ecological Perspectives Sociology Essay Example

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  • Pages: 11 (3025 words)
  • Published: August 17, 2017
  • Type: Case Study
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The concept of social ecological position entails the examination of the various impacts and connections between societal factors and the environment. Additionally, it delves into the interactions among individuals within a specific natural setting, along with the difficulties linked to the valuable educational opportunities offered by that setting. Essentially, social ecological position provides understanding on how people affect one another within a particular environment (Naess, 1989).

The concept of ecology encourages people to think about changes within the system and the environment. Social ecological systems go beyond individuals as our way of life is influenced by the world we live in. Bronfenbrenner (1979) argues that behavior is not only shaped by the environment, but also by other factors at different levels. In his research, Bronfenbrenner suggests that both the individual and the environment impact behaviors. Additionally, he sees community, individual, culture, and


environment as interconnected elements.

This idea is clearly portrayed in Charles morning book on web of life. There are various outcomes that arise from the influence and interaction between different levels and within various degrees that societal ecology positions address. Interactions can be similar or discontinuous, and cross-level effects are in accordance with (Rousseau & House 1994). Hence, this paper aims to present a comprehensive overview of the theoretical concepts and ideas related to societal ecological positions. It will also review the issue of discrimination and inequality in relation to this topic, and ultimately conclude by highlighting strategies to achieve a more improved societal perspective.

The different levels of influence include individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and public policies. The societal ecological perspective studies the interconnected relationship between individuals and their environment. At an individual level, people

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have the responsibility to make lifestyle changes in order to reduce risks and enhance their well-being. Family history, personal attitudes, and beliefs all contribute to individual influence.

They can be eliminated by promoting positive beliefs, behavior, and attitude. Individuals who regularly engage in many unhealthy and unsafe behaviors, such as consuming concentrated fats, having irregular sleep patterns, lacking frequent physical exercise, being addicted to alcohol, and experiencing high levels of frequent stress, live unhealthy lifestyles that can be controlled on an individual level. The modification of an individual's pattern of unhealthy behavior can be achieved. This can be accomplished through social influence speeches that aim to alter an individual's behavior, attitude, and thoughts in terms of actions and how others feel. One way to achieve social influence is through cognitive change, which involves changing the individual's opinions and emotions. Behavior change involves altering how individuals perceive their surroundings, while effective change involves shifting one's assessment of entities.

Interpersonal factors, such as relationships with family, peers, and romantic partners, increase the risk and influence behavior and experiences. Promoting programs that educate about equality, trust and mutual respect can help eliminate these factors. Interpersonal qualities greatly impact an individual's self-perception and can be learned through group membership, although some are deeply ingrained.

Gregson (2001) states that various factors, including ethnicity, gender, and socio-cultural background, shape individuals. These factors contribute to the development of personality traits, cognitive abilities, and personal beliefs that form a person's identity. It is important to note that individuals are influenced not only by their surroundings but also by their interactions with others. This is particularly relevant in child development as it would be unrealistic to assume

that a child's growth is solely impacted by their social environment. Instead, multiple factors simultaneously influence a child's behavior and learning experience. These factors include cultural influences, educational institutions (such as teachers and school systems), parental guidance and level of education, as well as involvement in extracurricular activities.

Examples of systems outside of the individual's ego include groups of friends, family, informal sports, or social clubs (Gregson, 2001). The community level aspect depends on an individual's experiences and how they interact with the community in general, which involves the social environment such as neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces. This can be promoted through social and norm campaigns based on trust and respect among other values. A clear example is overweight and obesity where people often believe that it is an individual's responsibility to some extent (David, 2001). The community also plays a significant role, such as when workplaces, schools, food stores, or restaurants do not offer healthy food options in the neighborhood, or when there are no fields or facilities for jogging, exercise areas, safe and accessible playgrounds for children, and lack of proper healthy facilities or physical education in schools. All these responsibilities fall on the community.

According to David (2001), the community can promote healthy behavior by implementing policies and environmental factors. These include providing healthy meals in cafeterias, incentivizing biking and walking to work, creating smoke-free workplaces, maintaining sidewalks and bike lanes, and offering insurance coverage for preventive services like tobacco cessation and workplace wellness programs. These measures can reduce the risks of diseases such as stroke, diabetes, cancer, and other heart diseases. The barriers to adopting healthy behaviors are present throughout the entire community.

However, by eliminating or reducing these barriers, behavior change can be achieved. James (2003) asserts that this will make behavior change more sustainable. On the other hand, Gregson (2001) suggests that these aspects may exist as rules, policies,and acceptable business practices within a formal organization.

According to Bronfenbrenner (1979), there are organizations that create completely different environments compared to other corporations. He uses Google as an example, where employees can wear pajamas to work. The organizational aspect is particularly important for younger, more impressionable employees as it shapes their understanding of ethical standards and expectations within a typical organization. This concept applies to various institutions such as schools, companies, churches, and sports teams. Furthermore, Bronfenbrenner argued that the level of communication within a system has a greater impact on the micro system. Social factors like religion, gender, cultural beliefs, social norms, and policies also influence individual behavior.

Working in concurrence with societal organic structures, such as policies, common regard, societal norms, gender equality, trust, and surrogate confidant relationship, can prevent this. These influences are more easily noticeable compared to other factors due to their significant impact. Notable intercultural effects include Communism, Western civilization, Military, Islam, and Christianity. For instance, the macro system of Communism adheres to the Marxist doctrine of wealth distribution on a larger scale. A Communist state like Cuba governs and regulates the environment where corporations and society or individuals exist.

Media plays an important role at all levels, as it communicates information and helps shape perspectives for individuals in various cultures (Bronfenbrenner 1979). Achieving healthy behavior requires considering factors at interpersonal, organizational, individual, public, and individual levels. By doing so, behavior change can be implemented

and sustained. In the corporate setting, there are often understandable disagreements and conflicts among stakeholders such as employees, customers, shareholders, and managers. Observing from a different perspective reveals interactive and cross-level effects, as many companies believe they only have a responsibility to generate financial value for stakeholders while fulfilling obligations to their customers.

Some organizations have a tendency to prioritize the needs of their owners and employees over those of their clients. The concept of isomorphism refers to the influence that actions taken at one level have on other levels. When conducting research on isomorphic models, it is important to consider the impact on both the magnitude and direction of changes when there are shifts in levels. Discontinuities, on the other hand, are essentially the opposite of isomorphism.

They produce an unequal effect on at least one or more groups, potentially in the opposite way. These effects are most prominent in any societal ecological component. Environmental outcomes, according to MCLeroy's study in 1996, influence individuals' behavior. The fundamental factors react in crisis situations, as mentioned by Rinderle in 2006. The "OK-FIRST" program guides people on how to assist others in responding better to weather-related hazards, as discussed in Oetz's article in 2006.

Historical interactions have a significant impact on people's conflict behavior, as seen in various societal conflicts. The media also plays a crucial role in reinforcing these issues. The bottom-up effects demonstrate how individuals or society influence higher levels, such as forming alliances to achieve their goals (Rinderle 2006).

The presence of planetary corporations in certain countries has various effects on civilizations. One example is China, where the availability of information has increased, reaching a larger audience even

in a Communist state. Emotions, including anger, jealousy, greed, guilt, and others, are influenced by feelings and impact the likely events to occur (Guerrero, 2006). Interactive effects are interdependent variables that occur simultaneously in multiple groups (Rousseau & House, 1994).

Illustratively, in Italy, cultural differences within workgroups can lead to conflicts among group members. These conflicts can have adverse effects on relationships and impede the accomplishment of goals for both the organization and individuals' personal development. Hence, technology also plays a vital role in addressing community, cultural, interpersonal disputes, as well as organizational issues (Rousseau; A; House 1994).

Political conflict

The purpose of politics is decision-making. Politics entails managing and satisfying the interests of all stakeholders to attain a shared objective. This can be applicable to individuals, organizations, communities, or nations.

A congresswoman's decisions can have a significant impact within their jurisdiction. Choosing not to vote for the President of the United States effectively silences their own voice in the election (Ungar, 2002). If many others also decide not to vote, it inadvertently allows a larger portion of the population to determine the outcome. Furthermore, if America establishes a presence in another country like the Middle East, it will affect both that country's governance and American soldiers and their home environment. Additionally, allocating funds to politically-driven conflicts can impact the value of the U.S.

The currency may face negative consequences, meaning that a decision can lead to multiple interconnected outcomes. For example, the actions of a terrorist have the potential to disrupt not only soldiers' lives but also impact people nearby and affect the entire nation.


Essentially, from a top-down perspective, the physical environment plays a vital role in shaping both

an individual's lifestyle and the overall condition. If a country has hilly or arid terrain with limited land for agriculture, it will generally experience slower growth compared to other countries.

Geography, natural resources, technology, and human resources all play a role in shaping habits, culture, and economics. Additionally, entrepreneurial leadership impacts technology and has a ripple effect on economics. Individual healthy behaviors are primarily influenced by social, economic, and cultural factors. Moreover, situational factors like low educational status, limited time and financial resources, energy levels, chronic exposure to neighborhood violence as well as close proximity to friends and family who engage in unhealthy behaviors can impede efforts to improve health habits.

Ecological factors can impact an individual's physical health either positively or negatively. To prevent illness, it is crucial for individuals to stay away from environments that may heighten their susceptibility to viruses or compromise their immune system. This entails avoiding crowded places with respiratory hazards and refraining from contact with ill coworkers.

On the other hand, specific environments can have advantageous effects on promoting good health. Being in the presence of physically fit individuals can inspire regular exercise and the maintenance of a healthy diet.

Setting a prohibition on the concentrated fats industry in a province may have a top-down impact on the health of individuals in a country. According to Haekel (2003), it can be challenging to convince someone to adopt healthy habits if they are not ready to embrace the suggested behavior. Additionally, exposure to environmental toxins and safety hazards can limit efforts to promote wellness. In this study, researchers examined predictors of using social influence tactics related to health in close relationships. Based on the

social ecological perspective, predictors were categorized as reflecting characteristics of the person influencing, characteristics of the person being influenced, characteristics of their relationship, and characteristics of the social influence situation. A total of 109 couples reported on situations in which each partner attempted to influence the other to change a health-related behavior.

By using the actor-partner mutuality analysis approach, the study found that only the actor's characteristics had effects on the outcomes, specifically the spouse's characteristics for the target individual, and both the actor and spouse's characteristics had effects on predicting health-related tactic usage. Effects related to the relationship features only appeared in interactions with responding gender. These results suggest that social influence in marriage involves reciprocity and mutual understanding.

The physical and social environment plays a role in transmitting diseases, both through water and air. The environment can also act as a stressor, negatively impacting people's mood, performance, and physiology due to exposure to uncontrollable demands like noise, political unrest, or interpersonal conflict. The environment can be a source of safety or danger, such as living in a chemically contaminated area, an unstable geographical location, or a socially violent setting. Additionally, the environment can facilitate healthier behaviors by promoting the use of safety devices in vehicles, providing access to fitness equipment at work or home, and exposing individuals to interpersonal influences or cultural practices that promote health behavior.

The environment plays a role in providing resources for wellness, such as effective communication, sanitation systems, public health services, and legislation ensuring citizens' access to health insurance and primary care.

Hazard communication

In the event of a natural disaster or threat, it is important to

ensure the safety of affected individuals. SEM can help analyze information and communication systems involved in these environmental influences. Factors such as education level, understanding, and privileged circumstances can determine the type of information received and the communication channels used.

If the mode of communication alters the received information, it will have a cascading effect on the individuals involved. MCLeroy (1996) explains that societal perspectives aim to eliminate barriers to health risks, create favorable conditions for individual well-being, and foster positive interactions and relationships. They also examine how broader physical, social, political, economic, and cultural contexts shape individuals' understanding and meaning-making process. Furthermore, societal perspectives emphasize care and concern for others. Additionally, these perspectives contribute to recognizing competing interests, accessing resources, and establishing relationships with authority figures, which can influence people's capabilities and contribute to overall stability in societies and nations.These positions also contribute to self-reflection and critical thinking, leading to positive actions. They promote social justice, help students navigate a changing world, and encourage young people to set aside their egos and work towards a future that supports and motivates individuals to make necessary changes for better health. The issue of bullying and victimization is not a new concept, and extensive research has been conducted on how multiple aspects of society influence an individual, including the individual themselves, their family, peer groups, school, community, and culture.

This text highlights the interconnectedness within the bully/victim continuum, and the application of societal ecological theory to understanding bullying behavior. Dolls (2001) asserts that bullying is not an isolated occurrence, but rather a result of complex relationships between individuals, families, peer groups, school communities, and cultures. The individual is at

the core of their social environment. Furthermore, individuals may be involved in bullying as a bully, bully victim, victim, or bystander. Various personal factors will influence their participation in bullying.

"Ecological systems theory proposes that all individuals are part of interconnected systems that position an individual at the center and extend outwards to include all the systems that impact the individual" (Bronfenbrenner, 1977). According to this theory, a child is an integral part of a social network consisting of four interconnected systems: microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems, and macrosystems. The child is actively involved with and central to this interaction between systems. The microsystem involves the child's relationships with specific settings such as home, classroom, or playground. The microsystems demonstrate the child's immediate interactions with others, including their reactions to bullying behavior. This conceptualization of microsystems also considers the child's position on the bully/victim continuum."

Thus, the bully, bully victim, victim, or bystander interact with others in their societal environment, and this interaction either worsens or lessens bullying and/or victimization behavior. The mesosystem includes the interconnectedness between systems in the child's life; home and school. The mesosystems depict the alignment between two or more environments, such as the alignment between home and school regarding bullying behavior. The exosystems include influences from other contexts, such as the impact of a school's anti-bullying policy or parental involvement in the school system. Lastly, the macro system refers to the influence of cultural norms, such as social attitudes towards bullying behavior. The societal ecology that encompasses the daily life of a young person determines their engagement or non-engagement in bullying and/or victimization behaviors.

Simons (2000) argues that interventions targeting youth should take into account

the various environments in which they operate, as individuals are influenced by their surroundings. Interventions that fail to address the multiple contexts in which young people exist are likely to be less effective compared to those that consider social ecology. This assertion is supported by consistent findings that youth engaged in aggressive behavior face challenges across multiple areas, including the family, peer groups, school, and community. To accurately assess the effectiveness of interventions in preventing or reducing bullying behavior, it is important to employ multiple methods and sources of assessment, taking into account different contexts. Although this can be a challenging task, best practices dictate that we consider all aspects of social ecology in order to make accurate determinations regarding bullying prevention and intervention programs.

An example of this type of optimal model is demonstrated in the approach proposed and implemented by Simons (2000). These studies suggest that data should be collected from various settings (home, school, community, laboratory, etc.) and through multiple sources including observers, children peers, parents, teachers, using a variety of methods such as home observations, lab experiments, classroom questionnaires, and records. In conclusion, it can be argued that a better societal position can be achieved by considering factors at all levels: interpersonal, organizational, public, and individual. Behavioral change involves individuals changing their perception of their surroundings and effectively reassessing entities. By doing so, behavior change can be implemented and sustained.

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