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: Marcus (Page 1 of 2)

BP 12

Regarding the Mindfulness video and exercise, it was rather enlightening to learn the importance of taking ten minutes per day to just allow the mind to relax and regroup.  What I found most helpful was the explanation of how meditation is believed to clear the mind and take everything away; however, when utilized correctly, it allows us the opportunity to step back from thoughts and emotions long enough to see them more clearly.  In addition, striking a delicate balance of focused relaxation allows thoughts to come and go.


I attempted to utilize the exercise and must admit that I experienced much of what the trainer stated was to be expected.  It was rather difficult to sit and attempt to do nothing and allow myself to just relax, as I am a person who is constantly thinking and re-evaluating things.  After some intense moments, my mind did focus, but it was on the upcoming final exam, and I found myself feeling anxious.  What was taken away from this exercise is the understanding that with any new tool, practice truly makes perfect.  I believe that it will be beneficial to learn to totally relax and see things in a much more clearly defined fashion, and it is something I will continue to work on in an effort to improve this technique and improve my overall well-being!

After completing the course on Human Behavior and the Social Environment, my two most important factors learned or taken from this course are as follows: (1) I am much more fascinated by human behavior and development than I ever thought previously, and am seriously considering changing my area of concentration from Administrative and Community Practice to Direct Practice; and (2) The information presented and learned is so vital and needed for so many people on a variety of levels that I would like to continue my educational pursuits and gain the knowledge and skills necessary to teach this information.  This was a difficult course with the vast amount of information presented; however, I found to be quite enlightening and beneficial!

BP 11

While there were several peer suggestions made regarding my web-site, I have to honestly admit that I took all of those changes under advisement and have every intention of utilizing them to strengthen the overall appearance and effectiveness of my blog posts.  It should however be noted that I made the conscious decision not to make those changes at this current time.  My reason for not initiating changes was based on my lack of technological expertise and the amount of time it would take for me to make those changes.  With the responsibilities of Graduate School and the completion of research papers and other assignments, I chose to complete the semester’s requirements and make the changes to the web-site following the completion of the semester when I can solely focus on it and make the most complete and effective changes possible.


When discussing the issues surrounding stress and its impact on physical and mental health, I would have to inform the individual that physically, the body responds to stress by utilizing extra energy to enhance the fight or flight response.  After repeated episodes of this, there can be some rather intense affects on the human body, which can even include the brain’s effect on the immune system and the immune system affecting the brain (Broderick, P.C.; Blewitt P.; 2015)Repeated stress can also affect mental health and it is important to note that some people have a higher vulnerability or (diathesis) under stressful conditions, which can lead some to develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of encountering stressful or traumatic events.  (Broderick, P; Blewett, P., 2015).  It is vital that stress be regulated and some form of self-care be utilized or assistance sought for people who are repeatedly in stressful situations.


Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The Life Span: Human Development for
Helping Professionals (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


When reviewing examples of my own thinking at one or more points in my life that reflect dualism, multiplicity and relativism, I will begin with dualism.  Broderick (2015) states dualistic thinking implies a rigid adherence to authoritarian views and when I thought like this, who I viewed as an authority, was automatically seen as right or correct. During my late adolescence and early adulthood, the views presented to be regarding church and spiritual beliefs were accepted as true and correct, without question.

When examining the subject of multiplicity, it involves people thinking about numerous different ideas, theories, other perspectives.  I recall begrudgingly accepting that there were different perspectives that I had not been exposed to and how painful it was in the beginning to process all of that new information, but how it soon became an interesting opportunity to challenge previously held beliefs while exploring other options.

In regards to relativism, I recall the moment when I discovered that ideas and differing opinions were to be respected; however, in order for them to be accepted, I had to challenge their authenticity and seek evidence to prove their validity.  I think that is a manner in which I approach new information to this day – be open to it, explore it, assess the information according to some level of evidence and accept what the evidence provides.

Two marker events that could possibly lead to a young adult person developing into their current level of thinking might be any significant events that provide changes in lifestyle, responsibility or circumstances; for instance, graduating from college and the new challenges and opportunities that await an individual at such an impactful time in life or meeting that special person that totally changes one’s thinking about the future and how the new person can be a part of it.



During the review of my peer’s website, I noticed a very detailed page with great information.  The only suggestions I had for improving the website were as follows: (1) Adding a picture of herself to the website; (2) More detailed information about my peer in the “ABOUT ME” section; and (3) Since she has pages with different topics, the suggestion was made for her to begin a page entitled, “GRADUATE SCHOOL COURSES,” and perhaps maintain a brief description of the courses and how they have impacted her as a Social Worker.


In reflecting on my adolescent development, there were many influences that led to me becoming the person I am currently.  The most impactful, positive influences were my parents.  They were extremely responsive, often referred to as authoritative, and they encouraged self-acceptance, self-confidence, while also providing a clearly defined set of rules and expectations.  I was permitted to express my opinions and feelings and was met with understanding, redirection (when needed) and compassion. By far the most negative influence during my adolescence would have been the role of media. At that time, media consisted mostly of television and movies, but they had a profound impact. Hip hop culture was in its infancy, and there were movies about the “guys from the streets,” and how they were living, which was in direct contrast to the life I had with two middle-class working parents. I wanted that life, and my friends and I attempted to mimic much of what we saw in terms of the culture, clothing and attitude. That ultimately led to some rather interesting and combative conversations with my parents; however, I do not regret having experienced it. It allowed me to fully understand that attempting to have someone else’s life is the biggest waste of time I can do with my own life.

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The Social World of Adolescence. The Life Span: Human Development for

Helping Professionals (4th ed. pp 375-377; ). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.


Upon completing the mid-term class self-assessment, the one additional commitment I will make for the remainder of the semester to contribute to my personal learning experience is to spend more time reviewing the power point presentations for each chapter.  I have found the material to be clear, concise and presented in a manner that will enable me to further understand the information presented in each chapter and utilize the information when assisting clients in the work place.


I will continue to participate in the classroom discussions in an effort to add to the collaborative learning experience.  I will also avail the chapter outlines I complete each week to any of my cohorts who may find the information helpful to their learning process.

BP 7

In the role of parenting in generating sex differences, we have learned that these messages from parents can come in a variety of ways, but are predominately reinforced by cultural values, which was found in Chapter 8 of the book in the Social Learning Theories section.  For example, as an African-American, I have learned that African-American mothers tend to convey less traditional gender-typed attitudes to their children than European-American mothers; however, there are some messages within our culture that are restrictive while others inspire inclusivity.

Two examples of restrictive messaging might include: (1) The responses given regarding the toys children choose for play.  While it would be appropriate and encouraged for girls to play with dolls, it would in no way be acceptable for boys to do so; and (2) Girls are encouraged to show their emotions and are comforted when they cry; whereas, boys are encouraged to be a “big boy” or to act tough.

Two examples of inclusive messaging in my culture might include the following: (1) Attitudes toward gender and sports – if a child (boy or girl) is found to be athletic, both genders are encouraged to develop their athletic talents and pursue activities associated with that talent; and (2) I have never witnessed any gender differences in the expectations of how children are to learn, the evaluation of their intelligence and a preference shown for one gender to be intellectually superior or inferior to the other.




Two positive outcomes from visual electronic media use in childhood would include:  (1)  Granting children the opportunity to become computer literate is an important educational goal and should be encouraged and can lead to improved grade point averages for children who learned to properly utilize the internet; and (2)  Electronic games, whether played on computers or other media platforms, can develop the skills in children that the game uses.

Two negative outcomes from visual electronic media use in childhood include the following: (1) When viewing of television by children around age 3 is increased, the more likely those children are to have difficulty in regulating attention upon reaching age 7; and (2) Research also found that the more violent the content of programming being viewed, the more serious attention difficulties appeared to be later.

Suggestions for parents and screen use for children would include the following: (1) Children under 2 should not be exposed to screen learning and usage; (2) Children preschool age should have limited media time of no more than 1-2  hours daily; and (3) Children over the age of 6 or 7 should have the content of the images viewed by children controlled by the parents.


After examining the four parenting styles, I will be choosing one character from today’s pop culture who exemplifies the parenting style referred to as , “Authoritative.”  The character chosen is Lucious Lyons of the popular television series, “Empire.”.  He is extremely demanding of his children, but fails to be responsive to their needs.  His communication style is not open, and typically consists of one-sided conversations where he provides orders and directions, as opposed to listening attentively to what his children have to say.  He demonstrates a lack of affection for his children, pushes them to greatness and demanding the best, but does little to support them as they struggle with his overall communication and parenting sytyle.  Lastly, Lucious uses a form of behavioral and psychological control over his children, promising rewards (as defined by him), only as a result of his children following his precise orders, without question!


When reviewing the New York Longitudinal Study (1977) of behavioral traits of infants, the effectiveness of caregiving behaviors for children with different temperaments showed the following:

(1) Rhythmicity – regularity of the baby’s biological functions, which includes such things as the sleeping and eating schedule.  When the baby is categorized as an easy child, the schedules are regular and make attachment between the child and primary caregiver (typically the mother), easier to achieve;

(2) Mood – when the predominant moods displayed by the infant or positive, as opposed to negative or neutral.  This can have a direct impact on attachment with the mother;


Citing three examples from Chapter 3, discuss the trend of decreasing play activity from school schedules in exchange for more academics. How might it affect children’s development for better or worse?


It would be a disastrous thing for play time to be limited with younger children because of the many advantages provided for both the teacher and students through play, which are:

(1)  The teacher can observe the child’s excecutive functions, which include things such as the child’s ability to self-regulate,  the child’s working memory or how flexible the child is cognitively.

(2)  The teacher then has the ability to begin crafting her interaction with her students and individualizing her approach to their learning needs; and

(3)  Through the use of play activities, students imaginations are enhanced/strengthened as well as increase cooperation among the younger students.



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