Human Behavior in the Social Environment (SWK 5223)

A course at the University of Oklahoma Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work taught by Carrie Jankowski, MSSW, LCSW

Author: Christina Wyatt (Page 1 of 2)

S WK 5113 Generalist Practice II – Community Intervention Presentation

Census Tract 15, Lawton OK

BP 12

Regarding the Mindfulness Practice homework assignment, please reflect on that process and share its impact: positive, negative, or neutral. How could you use this in your own life or how could it benefit your clients?

As we discussed in class closure last week, please state 2 things that you are taking away from this course in Human Behavior and the Social Environment.

The mindfulness practice involves taking a step back to reflect on one’s thoughts and to do so without judgement, letting thoughts come and go. I find this process to be positive overall but I think it’s difficult for me to implement it without assistance. This is probably because I am not used to taking the time out to be mindful and to focus on thoughts and feelings. I found it interesting in the video where it mentioned that 47% of our lives is spent thinking about all sorts of things so I definitely want to be able to incorporate such a practice from time to time because it’s surprising that we all spend so much time just thinking. I’m sure there are moments that I could definitely benefit from letting my thoughts flow in order to refocus myself. I believe this would benefits my work with clients by teaching them to help let go of some of the stressors they are experiencing in a moment. Not to forget about these issues entirely, but to take 10 minutes to just not think and to stop overthinking and judging ourselves. I believe we could all use more practice at that.

I will take away additional knowledge about children, adolescents and adults that I think will help me with my work. I feel like it was important to address the different theories in order to provide a strong foundation when I find myself working with clients. There are so many different approaches to the issues we face and to realize that a person’s problems can be addressed through many different perspectives is actually comforting. It makes me realize I don’t need to know all the answers and I don’t need to specifically use one approach to help a client problem solve. Understanding human behavior and how it interacts with our environment over our lifetimes encompasses such a vast amount of material but I’m learning that as social workers, it’s not necessary for me to be an expert in one particular theory or area. I can be just as helpful by learning about my clients and learning what areas to apply to each individual in order to help them.

BP 11

  • Share 2 changes/additions you made to your website (note if they were peer suggested or your own ideas) and explain your reasoning behind it. If you did not make any changes, please state as such.
  • Explain the relationship between stress, physical health, and mental health as it relates to subjective well-being as concretely evidenced by the text.

I have not presently made any changes to my website but I plan to add peer suggested information such as my resume/CV and a quick bio about myself. I feel this will add a level of professionalism to my website. I just have not found the extra time to make changes and updates to my current resume.

Stress is an inevitable part of life and learning to cope with stress is fundamental to one’s well-being. High levels of stress can actually cause people to feel physically ill and mentally exhausted. If one is constantly feeling pressure and stress, the body’s energy resources are always being used. These resources have to be replenished after time because our bodies are not made to constantly be in a state of high alert. Instead, our bodies seek a state of homeostasis (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Also, using these energy resources can sometimes take away energy from other areas of our bodies so under high amounts of stress, the process of immunosuppression occurs (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). This means that the stress hormone the body produces, cortisol, affects how the body responds to chemical messengers in our immune systems either by increasing or decreasing responses. In other words, you’re more likely to catch a cold when you’re feeling stressed out. Stress can also lead to the discovery of predisposed medical conditions that are passed through genetics if the body is constantly on alert. It’s important to develop healthy coping skills for stress management. Positive experiences can improve our sense of well-being which in turn leads to positive development.

BP 10

Give one example of your own thinking at one or more points in your life that reflect the following:

dualism- I can remember thinking as a young adult (18) that it wasn’t right to question teachers or political figures because “they knew what they were talking about”. It didn’t occur to me that ideas and opinions could be challenged so easily. As a result, I hardly ever spoke up in classes to provide my own opinions for fear of being chastised.

multiplicity- As I grew older, I learned that people have different viewpoints and just because I didn’t agree with them didn’t necessarily make those people wrong. I was able to learn from other people from a variety of backgrounds in my undergraduate classes.

relativism- Later after graduating college, I felt that I could sufficiently support or defend my own ideas. I had developed beliefs through the friends and experiences I had in college and this allowed me to shape my personality further. I ended up moving to a foreign country where many ideas and beliefs were very different from my own but through experience, I was able to defend my points and ultimately allow others to see things from my perspective.

What are two marker events that could help a young adult to develop into their current level of thinking?

A marker event such as forming a romantic relationship with another person is something that could help a young adult develop their personality and beliefs. People in intimate relationships tend to have discussions about shared desires and wants. They may have similar goals and it helps to form a more solid belief system. Another event that aids young people in developing thinking is to start a new job. Many young people just out of college start out in entry level jobs and these jobs help form identities. People meet coworkers and form friendships that allow people to exchange ideas.

BP 9

Referring to the peer review process for student websites, please state three changes you would recommend for your peer’s website and justify reasons for those changes.

I reviewed Amber Cook’s website at I was impressed with the details on this page but have a few things that I feel could be tweaked in order for Amber to present herself to potential employers. The main heading on the page features a photo of flowers with some words describing the theme of the page. This particular theme is a pay-to-upgrade theme and though Amber attempted to personalize the theme with a favorite quote, it appears in conjunction with the original theme description. I think that with a possible commitment to pay for the upgrade to erase the original description, this would be resolved. The only alternative would be to find a theme that has a similar look that is available for free. Potential employers may feel distracted with the words overlaying each other.

The next point I would recommend for a change would be to add a link to the current class website. This will allow potential employers to see what is going on in the class and to possibly gauge how this future employee is doing in the class.

The final point I would recommend would be to increase the font size of the text on the screen. I find them a little difficult to read but it could be due to the background or font color as well. I think potential employers may want to be able to read through some of the past posts to get a better understanding of the person. I understand that this can be easily fixed through zooming in on the website, but then that tends to distort the page and involves some scrolling. By either increasing the size or making it darker, it is more defined.

Citing the text for specific supportive evidence, name one positive aspect and one negative aspect that influenced your adolescent development.

A positive aspect in my adolescent development was the role of school and teachers that I encountered daily. As stated in the text by Broderick & Blewitt (2015), school plays a major part in psychosocial and intellectual development. I felt encouragement by many of my teachers and it helped to foster more self-confidence. A negative aspect is that both my parents had an authoritarian parenting style, often dictating to me how I should act without any real approach to compromise. Parenting styles affect the way children learn and respond. There are distinct differences between cultures as well (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

BP 8

Reflecting on our mid-term class self-assessment and mutual problem solving exercise, name at least one thing that YOU will do for the rest of the semester in this course to contribute to your personal learning experience and at least one thing that you will contribute to the collaborative learning experience.

I will strive to be more open and flexible in order to enhance my personal learning experience. I find it is important to be prepared for class but not to the point where I am stressed about a particular activity. Lately because of issues with work and learning to balance my personal life and school, it’s been difficult to allow myself to be flexible. In order to contribute to a better collaborative experience, I plan to remind myself to be kind and not to underestimate anyone’s experience. There are so many things I can learn from my classmates and I should be mindful of that, whether it is applicable in class or in life.

BP 7

Reflecting on specific gender messages in your culture, clearly name 2 messages that are restrictive and 2 that inspire inclusivity.  Cite at least one supporting example from the text as evidence for your ideas.

Within the American culture, it is socially acceptable for young boys to be active and masculine in their behavior. Young girls are expected to be more reserved and feminine. Both messages can be restrictive. As children grow into adolescents, there is more intolerance for those outside of these norms. Broderick & Blewitt (2015) cited that boys are likely to be rejected for behaving in feminine ways but girls who act in more masculine ways tend to be accepted by peers. This could account for girls with social anxiety and shyness to be perceived as normal (as cited in Broderick & Blewitt). More inclusive messages that are prevalent in American culture are the ideas that children should be individuals and encouraged to speak up for themselves. This is different from collectivistic cultures such as China where children are not encouraged to act on their own behalf (Broderick & Blewitt 2015). Also in American culture, aggression isn’t always seen as a negative aspect to personality. If both male and female children are perceived as aggressive, they should also possess other positive competencies. They could then be seen as popular and be considered part of the controversial category of social status (Broderick & Blewitt 2015). It’s important to note as professionals, care must be taken to be aware of cultural differences between clients. Children should be taught perspective taking in order to better facilitate positive peer interactions with people from different cultures.


BP 6

Referencing the text, name 2 positive outcomes and 2 negative outcomes that come from visual electronic media use in childhood. Also referencing the text/research, if you were working with a parent who needed guidance on screen use for children, what information might you share?

Negative effects of infants viewing educational DVDs revealed a link to a slower pace of language development. It was also found that more viewing of these DVDs were related to a worse language delay. Studies are still uncertain on whether the use of electronic media causes harm, but it is evident that media takes time away from other activities that are are more critical for positive cognitive development. Some educational programming on TV, however, produces positive effects such as improved school readiness and better number skills for preschoolers. Some children have shown reduced attention during play because of televisions in the background which could be a marker for poor development in the future. Also, the more “entertaining” a TV program is, the less likely some children are to perform well in school. Becoming computer literate is certainly a skill that is important for education and learning basic computer skills are useful for children. However, it’s important to be able to limit some of the exposure of these electronic devices to children at vulnerable ages.

Parents who are struggling with on screen time for children could be offered information on resources and organizations that have guidelines for the use of electronic media. Such possible resources include the U.S. Department of Education ( and the Children’s Partnership ( These two websites offer information to support parents and teachers. It is important that everyone recognize that the best outcome for children using technology comes from supportive adults who continue to provide information to them such as language skills, empathy and flexibility.


Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The Emerging Self and Socialization in the Early Years.   The Life Span: Human Development for Helping Professionals (4th ed., pp 168-201).  Upper  Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.

BP 5

Examining the 4 parenting styles as highlighted in the chapter, name one character from today’s pop culture/society that depicts a specific parenting style and describe/cite 4 identifying characteristics as referenced in the text to support your selection.

I feel that Kim Kardashian is an example of a Permissive style parent. Permissive parents are moderately and sometimes highly responsive to their children, but they are not as demanding. They seem to have less behavioral control when compared to other parents. They can be more nurturing and affectionate than authoritarian parents. Kim Kardashian’s daughter, North West, as indicated by the TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians, appears to have less structure and perhaps not as many expectations demanded of her by her parents.

Authoritarian parents are low on responsiveness but highly demanding. I typically think of my mother’s family in regards to this parenting style. Being an Asian family, my mother grew up with very high expectations placed upon her. Authoritarian parents seem to think in the “Because I said so” mindset and have very strict rules regarding behavior. This was exactly the environment experienced by my mother. She was expected to attend school and be successful at it. She was also expected to marry into a good family because that was what was normal in her culture at the time.

Authoritative parents show a fair amount of responsiveness to their children’s needs as well as being highly demanding. Authoritative parents encourage independence while creating a positive environment for their children. I feel that mother on the TV show The Middle is a good example of this. The family is considered middle-class/working class but both parents raise their children with a fair divide on attention and demands. The mother can be seen in several episodes reasoning with her children and providing clear rules to dictate behavior. Consequences are clearly defined in an authoritative household. Her children all seem to have positive self-esteem as a result of this parenting style.

Neglecting and Uninvolved parents are low on responsiveness and low on demandingness. They take little time out of their days to attend to their children and tend to be very parent-centered. They sometimes show less affection. These parents have a lot of difficulty imposing limits on their children and punishments are usually an assertion of power. Neglectful parents are usually the parents who do not show up to any school events for their child. They show little involvement or interest in what happens to their child outside of the home. Children from these types of homes can sometimes suffer from serious neglect and may end up in state custody as a result.


BP 4

In the New York Longitudinal Study (1977), it was discovered that infants typically fell into four categories or “temperament types”: Difficult, Easy, Slow-to-warm-up, and a fourth group in which traits did not fit well into the previous categories. Using the goodness of fit model, there is a relationship between a child’s temperament and the caregiving received from the primary caregiver. Infants with a difficult temperament may show high levels of activity, withdrawal or rejection to a new experience, and an overall negative mood. A difficult baby may benefit from a caregiver who is especially sensitive and responsive during the early infancy stage. Because babies are developing emotion regulation in this early stage, a highly responsive caregiver could help calm a highly reactive and difficult baby. Infants that are easy babies feature traits such as a short period of adaptation, a generally positive mood, and longer periods of attention. A parent who is less sensitive and responsive to the infant’s needs could result in an insecure attachment of an easy baby. Slow to warm up babies are typically difficult when looking at fearfulness and can be more wary. However, they react less intensely and are less negative than a difficult infant. For insecurely attached infants, fearfulness has been found to predict the type of insecurity (Broderick & Blewitt 2015). A caregiver’s responsiveness can determine if a baby becomes securely or insecurely attached and therefore low responsiveness would result in an insecure infant. All attachment between caregivers and children is dependent upon the quality of care given and received.

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