Looking At The Knowledge Of Human Growth Social Work Essay

The purpose of this instance survey is to utilize cognition of human growing and development to critically discourse the theories a societal worker might use to measure a household and better understand their behavior. These theories will be applied to two members of the household, Molly ( 13-years old ) and Elsie ( 65-years old ) , and critiqued in footings of how they might help societal workers in doing informed, anti-oppressive appraisals. Any restrictions to the theories will besides be discussed.

Anti-oppressive pattern will underlie the review and has been defined as “ a signifier of societal work pattern which addresses societal divisions and structural inequalities in the work that is done with ‘clients ‘ ( users ) and workers ” ( Dominelli, 1993, p. 24 ) . It is a person-centred attack synonymous with Rogers ( 1980 ) doctrine of person-centred pattern. It is designed to authorise persons by cut downing the negative effects of hierarchy, with the accent being on a holistic attack to assessment. Rehearsing in an anti-oppressive manner requires valuing differences in life style and personal individualities. By recognizing the power instability nowadays between societal workers and clients, particularly between societal workers and kids or oppressed older grownups, theory and cognition can be utilised to dispute subjugation and favoritism ( Dalrymple and Burke, 2000 ) . How this can be achieved is demonstrated throughout this instance survey.

Attachment Theory is a psychological theory based on the premiss that kids require an fond regard relationship with at least one consistent health professional within their lives for normal societal and emotional development ( Bowlby, 1958 ; Ainsworth et al. , 1978 ) . For Molly, the development of an attachment figure was probably to hold been compromised during her early developmental old ages. When she was between 1 and 7-years old, her female parent was addicted to drugs and intoxicant and therefore was emotionally and physically unavailable ( Eiden et al. , 2002 ) . Despite life with her male parent and paternal grandparents for a period of clip, the overall insecurity within her household unit is likely to hold impacted her ability to attach to others ( Barrow, 2011 ) . The possibility that Molly has developed multiple fond regards besides needs to be considered as Molly lives within a context of shared caregiving ( Kelly and Lamb, 2000 ) . This is where the theory is limited in its application within this household since it does non supply penetration into the kineticss and deductions of multiple fond regards. It besides fails to admit the impact of losing multiple fond regards ( Ainsworth et al. , 1978 ) .

There are a figure of important alterations that have occurred in Molly ‘s life and that involve possible fond regard figures. For illustration, Molly ‘s male parent, whom Molly remained close to even when her parents were separated, has become marginalised and distanced in an attempt to avoid statements with Molly ‘s female parent ( Markiewicz, Doyle, and Brendgen, 2001 ) . When he is at place, the tenseness is likely to impact the continuance and quality of clip spent with Molly. Marital struggle has been found to act upon striplings ‘ attachment security by cut downing the effectivity of parenting ( Markiewicz, Doyle, and Brendgen, 2001 ) . Given the household history, Molly might be fearful of her parents dividing once more, the extent of which can non be underestimated ( Lewinsohn et al. , 2008 ) . A recent article in the intelligence reported on the possible long-run impact of divorce on kids and their life class, including a decrease in gaining possible and less stable relationships ( Barrow, 2011 ) . The deductions of this are that Molly is non merely being negatively impacted in the present, but might see a continuance of these jobs into maturity. Long-run impact can non, nevertheless, be assumed and consideration of single differences such as personality, resiliency, get bying manner, and phase of development can supply the context for measuring the impact of alterations in fond regards. Another unfavorable judgment of fond regard theory is that such single differences are non accounted for ( Ainsworth et al. , 1978 ) .

Molly has already lost one of her fond regard figures, her gramps, and therefore loss is a world for Molly. Molly ‘s grandma ‘s behavior is likely to hold changed as she comes to footings with her ain loss, and the impact that this might be holding on Molly ‘s already delicate micro-system ( Bronfennbrenner, 1977 ) needs to be portion of Molly ‘s appraisal. All of the cardinal fond regard figures in Molly ‘s life are either emotionally or physically unavailable at present. Molly ‘s recent jobs at school might be the consequence of a deficiency of unafraid attachment figures. Indeed, being racially opprobrious towards her equals would bespeak trouble in developing fond regards outside of the place, a often reported job among kids who do non hold a unafraid household fond regard from which to larn ( Allen and Land, 1999 ) . Furthermore, research with ferine kids has shown that kids raised without the attending of a consistent health professional can expose choler, hurt, and withdrawal in the short-run and aggression, cleaving, withdrawal, and psychosomatic upsets in the long-run ( Siegler, 2006 ) .

Harris ( 1998 ) would reason that the theory disregards to account for Molly ‘s developmental phase, with adolescence being a clip when kids are influenced more by their equals than their parents. This might particularly be the instance with Molly, whose double ethnicity means she is likely to be sing more force per unit area to suit in among her equals. Evidence within the literature has shown that striplings of double heritage study more cultural geographic expedition, favoritism, and behavioral jobs than those of individual heritage ( Ward, 2005 ) . The degree of attending Molly additions from her household during this ambitious clip is likely to be limited by her brother ‘s disablement, which requires excess clip and attempt from Molly ‘s health professionals. This might be consuming their energies and cut downing their capacity to back up Molly ( Opperman and Atlant, 2003 ) . Social workers are responsible for guaranting that non-disabled siblings within a household are non overlooked ( Children Act, 1989 ; Every Child Matters, 2003 ) . Furthermore, Adler ‘s theory of birth order can alarm societal workers to a phenomenon termed ‘dethronement ‘ ( Leman, 2004 ) , which describes the remotion of attending from the first kid to the 2nd kid. Molly could be experiencing the sense of lower status that is frequently associated with deposition, a factor that can non be explained by biological theories of human development.

Life Course Theory

Life Course Theory has been defined as a “ sequence of socially defined events and functions that the single enacts over clip ” ( Giele and Elder, 1998, p. 22 ) . During striplings, Gonadotropin, Luteinising, Follicle Stimulating, and Adrenocorticotropic endocrines strongly act upon temper swings and extremes of emotion ( Corwin, 2008 ) , which might explicate Molly ‘s trouble commanding her choler at school. The teenage encephalon is merely approximately 80 % developed, with the white affair that signals the release of these endocrines increasing well during this clip ( Jensen, 2005 ) .

Harmonizing to Erickson ‘s 8 phases of human development, Molly is in phase five, which is characterised by a struggle between individuality versus function confusion ( Erickson, 1998 ) . Hazards to Molly ‘s societal development include hapless parental supervising and subject, household struggle ( Beinart et al. , 2002 ) , and any individuality struggle she might be sing around her double heritage ( Ward, 2005 ) . Molly is merely one-quarter Asiatic and therefore her individuality is really equivocal as her outward visual aspect is merely 25 % Asiatic extraction. There is the possibility that she may resent her female parent for looking Asiatic and that her racial abusiveness at school is transference of this choler. There is besides the issue of whether Molly ‘s female parent has cultured any portion of her Asiatic heritage onto Molly.

In measuring Molly via this theory, it is of import to recognize the inevitable power instability between a societal worker and an stripling who is in an insecure place environment and fighting with the hormonal alterations that come with being a adolescent ( Sakamoto and Pitner, 2005 ) . By recognizing this power instability, the societal worker can right any instabilities by reflexiveness and going aware of their ain preconceived thoughts about striplings ( Dalyrmple and Burke, 1995 ) . It would be easy to restrict the engagement of Molly in the appraisal in an attempt to screen her or protect her due to her immature age. However, since adolescence is a clip when persons are developing their ain alone individualities, such action would simply move to suppress and disempower Molly. She is already sing a deficiency of control within her current environment and therefore it is important that the appraisal by the societal worker does non take further control by being based on stereotypes and premises. For illustration, the hormonal alterations that impact the temper of striplings can take to stereotypes of the Moody, anti-social adolescent, with such premises ensuing in adolescents being an oppressed group portrayed as a societal ‘problem. ‘ The extra force per unit area to contend this subjugation and prove they are good people can do this developmental stage an even more ambitious clip.

Extra biological factors involved in Molly ‘s current sense of wellbeing might include issues around organic structure image since this is a clip when she will be doing the passage from kid to adult. Troubles around relationship development and sexual attractive force and orientation are all possible subscribers to Molly ‘s low temper ( Levinson, 1978 ) . One of the restrictions of biological theories of adolescence, nevertheless, is whilst they facilitate an apprehension of stripling development, they do non take into history the psychological factors associated with adolescence, such as individuality development and function confusion. Considering Molly ‘s behavior in visible radiation of psychological, societal and cultural factors is of import in deriving an accurate appraisal of her societal attention demands. For illustration, Molly ‘s attempts to happen her ain individuality whilst coping with the physiological effects of adolescence is likely to be complicated by her double heritage, which will be strongly linked to her sense of individuality. There is the possibility that Molly is happening it hard to suit in with her equals or that she is being bullied at school ; being racially opprobrious might be an unconscious attempt to raise the attending of grownups towards favoritism she might be sing. This supports psychodynamic attacks and the impression that actions and experiences are influenced by unconscious motives ( Freud, 1923 ) . Unless Molly is treated as an person as opposed to a homogeneous member of the stripling group, a societal worker will non be able to accurately measure and understand the nucleus issues underlying Molly ‘s current behavior. In bend, this will merely move to farther marginalise this oppressed group. Without the specializer cognition and accomplishments that can be gained from theories of human growing and development, it could be argued that societal workers should non be allowed to work within the field of kid protection ( Laming, 2009 ) .


The two theories of human growing and development to be applied to Elsie are Ecological Systems Theory and Disengagement Theory.

Ecological Systems Theory

Bronfenbrenner ‘s ( 1977 ) Ecological Model of human development postulates that in order to understand human development, an person ‘s ecological system needs to be taken into consideration. This includes their microsystem ( i.e. immediate relationships ) , mesosystem ( i.e. different parts of the microsystem working together ) , exosystem ( i.e. systems that the person is non straight portion of but that affects them ) , macrosystem ( i.e. the larger, more distanced societal universe such as authorities and civilization ) , and their chronosystem ( i.e. a system of alteration ) . The microsystem and macrosystem are likely to be of most impact to Elsie, the former in footings of current household insecurity and the latter in footings of civilization and stereotypes associated with ripening.

Elsie ‘s ecological system has been continually altering for many old ages, particularly her immediate milieus, which are likely to hold greater impact on her wellbeing. There has been really small environmental stableness within Elsie ‘s life, at least over the last 7-years or more. She has late lost her hubby, experienced continually fluctuating environmental conditions, and is now populating in a tense atmosphere due to issues within her boy ‘s matrimony. Part of working with Elsie in an anti-oppressive manner is to recognize the rough worlds of her current ecological system. It is besides of import to observe that, kids ‘s behavior and personality can besides impact the behavior of grownups ; Elsie ‘s behavior and sense of wellbeing might be negatively affected by her granddaughters struggle through adolescence and her grandson ‘s disablement. Taking into consideration Elsie ‘s ecological system highlights the importance of non doing premises that Elsie ‘s increased forgetting is a mark of dementedness ; her symptoms might be the consequence of emphasis within her environment.

Despite the relevancy of this theory to understanding Elsie ‘s state of affairs, the review does highlight restrictions in its operationalisation ( Wakefield, 1996 ) . In peculiar, since past experiences and future expectancies are likely to impact Elsie ‘s current wellbeing, deficiency of inclusion of this component of human growing and development within the Ecological Model is a serious restriction in footings of measuring Elsie. For illustration, Elsie ‘s societal systems today are highly different to when she was younger. Indeed, Elsie has lived through two universe wars, which is likely to hold impacted her perceptual experiences of herself and her societal universe.

Another restriction to the theory its accent on version, which it has been argued can be used to promote persons to accept oppressive fortunes ( Coady and Lehman, 2008 ) . Social workers utilizing this theory in their appraisals ideally need to be cognizant that subjugation and unfairness are portion of the environment that needs to be considered in an ecological analysis. With this consideration, the theory offers societal workers a manner of believing about and measuring Elsie holistically, within her environment and societal context.

The most drastic alteration in Elsie ‘s ecological system is the decease of her hubby. The possibility that Elsie is fighting with the mourning of her hubby needs to be taken really earnestly. Elsie ‘s current cognitive jobs might be brooding of depression associated with one of the purported phases of mourning ( Kubler-Ross, 1989 ) . This is frequently characterised by feelings of guilt, deficiency of intent in life, and a sense of loss. The menace of losing even more in her life, such as her function as health professional to her grandchildren might be worsening the depression and any feelings of deficiency of intent. The current tenseness within the household might besides be raising concerns about losing the household, which is her primary beginning of support. Such frights are likely to impede Elsie making a period of ‘restoration orientation, ‘ where she can concentrate on constructing a hereafter without her hubby ( Worden, 2003 ) . Bing a widow means that Elsie is likely to hold a alone sense of the part that being in a relationship or being entirely has to personal individuality ; this might be beef uping any concerns she has approximately losing other relationships within her ecological system. This sense of ego in ulterior life has been referred to as ‘the mature imaginativeness ‘ by Biggs ( 1999 ) . If Erickson ‘s theory of life phases were to be utilised by the societal worker, they would understand that this hunt for individuality is a really of import clip for Elsie and could take to either integrating or desperation ( Erickson, 1998 ) .

An apprehension of demands and resources is of import when working from the ecological position, an apprehension which the theory itself lacks to underscore ( Coady and Lehman, 2008 ) . For Elsie, demands within her life include get bying with the loss of her hubby, being responsible for roll uping Mason from school, and covering with any concerns she might hold about her boy ‘s matrimonial jobs. Elsie is besides likely to be worried about her forgetfulness, possibly imputing it to marks of dementedness, which is often perceived as an inevitable portion of the ageing procedure ( ref ) . In footings of resources, Elsie does non hold the support of her household as they are preoccupied with their ain jobs. Elsie ‘s demands drastically outweigh her resources, doing it peculiarly of import that societal workers consider the disempowerment that Elsie is presently sing. Reflexivity is indispensable in guaranting that Elsie is assessed non based on preconceived thoughts about older people, but on the world of her hard societal fortunes ( Dalrymple and Burke, 1995 ) .

Social Disengagement Theory

Social Disengagement Theory has been described by Cumming and Henry ( 1961 ) as “ an inevitable common backdown. . . ensuing in decreased interaction between the ageing individual and others in the societal systems he belongs to ” ( p. 227 ) . It could be argued that Elsie is fixing to withdraw via the manifestation of memory jobs that impact her ability to roll up Mason from school and which has caused tenseness between the household. On the other manus, this can non be assumed as this risks encouraging unwanted detachment or making a sense of duty to withdraw. If Elsie starts to experience like a load, she might take to withdraw in order to forestall the tenseness she is witnessing before her. This illustrates how old age is merely every bit much a societal building as a biological procedure ( Estes et al. , 1982 ) . In order to work in an anti-oppressive manner, societal workers need to be cognizant that Elsie might be sing a sense of duty to withdraw instead than a biological demand to withdraw. Whilst her forgetfulness might be a measure towards detachment, it could merely as every bit be the consequence of a self-fulfilling prognostication ensuing from stereotypes of old age. Equally, it could be the marks of dementedness, with cognitive working likely to worsen quickly if it is a mark of Alzheimer ‘s disease ( Teri et al. , 1995 ) . Again, this can non be assumed, nevertheless, as despite being seen as a natural effect of ripening, merely a minority of people develop the status ( Stuart-Hamilton, 2006 ) .

A cardinal concern with detachment theory is that there needs to be a move off from sing older people as an homogeneous group characterised by passiveness, neglecting wellness, and dependence ( Leont’ev, 1978 ) . Puting Elsie within a class of ‘older people ‘ would be oppressive and would disregard Elsie ‘s individualism, including her ain personal wants and needs in footings of prosecuting or withdrawing from society. It might be that Elsie is ready to take a measure back from the duty of roll uping her grandson from school, therefore the manifestation of forgetfulness. On the other manus, it might be that Elsie ‘s individuality and sense of wellbeing rely on the joy she gets from roll uping him from school. The latter is likely if Elsie ‘s yesteryear is taken into consideration. Elsie lived through two universe wars, and in order to keep continuity of personality ( Atchley, 1989 ) , it is plausible that Elsie ‘s sense of worth is based on difficult work, productiveness, and societal part. The impression of continuity of personality has been supported within the literature ( Reichard et al. , 1962 ; Haan, 1986 ) .

The theory is besides limited in that it does non analyze sociocultural differences. In the instance of Elsie, whilst she might no longer be working and she no longer has the function of ‘wife, ‘ a societal function has been established for her ( Hochschild, 1976 ) – chiefly as a support to her household, whether that be roll uping her grandson from school or supplying fiscal and emotional support them. This is supported by Activity Theory ( Neugarten, 1977 ) , which posits that a healthier attack to older age is to be active and socially engaged by replacing functions from earlier in the life flight with options, which is precisely what Elsie has attempted to make. Activity theory is supported by the determination in several surveies that active older grownups show higher degrees of life satisfaction and morale ( Boyd and Bee, 2006 ) . Furthermore, Activity Theory is by its very nature anti-oppressive in that promotes positive images and engagement and places a value on engagement and relationships ( Dalrymple and Burke, 1995 ) . This highlights the importance of being mindful of the fact that, often, persons who lose their spouse in ulterior life do non be given to get down dating or looking for another spouse. Elise could still hold another 25-years to populate, but is withdrawing herself from the function of lover or married woman by burying herself in her household.

To use detachment theory within Elsie ‘s appraisal hazards being ageist and doing premises based on her age. This in bend could ensue in Elsie going socialised and withdrawing from society. This is besides in line with Social Exchange Theory, which posits that societal life is structured around mutual exchange and that detachment from society or relationships is brought about by inequalities in the exchanges available to older people ( Dowd, 1980 ; Nelson, 2000 ; Hendricks, 2004 ) . Social workers can assist set up any power instabilities between an older individual and their societal webs by moving as an advocator and therefore actively forestalling farther subjugation ( Nelson, 2000 ) . This involves non handling older people as kids by utilizing what the Americans have termed ‘elderspeak ‘ ( i.e. naming older people ‘dear ‘ or ‘sweetie ‘ ) , which can be perceived as patronising and disrespectful ( Wigmore, 2008 ) . Such pattern besides acts to make a power divide, where the older individual is infantilised and treated as a dependent individual. This can be discriminatory in that it is a humbling exercising of power ( Thompson, 1997 ) .


Family relationships are complex and effectual support for single members requires the use of theory and cognition pertaining to human growing and development. Evidence-based pattern via the usage of theories within societal work is demonstrative of best pattern, particularly within a societal universe of continually altering contexts and societal norms ( Fook et al. , 2000 ; Smith, 2004 ) ; nevertheless, flexibleness and an eclectic attack demand to run aboard established cognition if favoritism is to be prevented. Theory demands to be embedded in pattern so that societal workers continually strive to develop the theory inductively via reflexiveness and the challenging of personal ideas and feelings that might make a power instability ( Argyris and Schon, 1974 ) . Social workers are a powerful societal group whose pattern can keep favoritism if they do non stay cognizant of personal and societal biass ( Payne, 1997 ) . Working harmonizing to Thompson ‘s ( 1997 ) PCS model can ease anti-oppressive pattern, whereby appraisal of a household such as this one comprises an consciousness of personal, psychological, pattern and bias ( P ) , values and norms that are internalised through socialization via, consensus and conformance ( C ) , and a socio-political apprehension that favoritism is portion of society ( S ) . This model is particularly of import when working with vulnerable grownups and kids such as Elsie and Molly.

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