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: Michael LeFever

Census Intervention



In regards to the mindfulness activity, this is something I do nightly before bed. I lay in the dead mans pose on my bed and close my eyes, just concentrating on my breathing. I find it helpful for falling asleep. It helps me to empty my thoughts and to relax, and since doing this my sleep patterns have improved (according to my fitbit). I rarely wake during the night and my restlessness has dramatically reduced. This could be helpful for clients that have mental illness, especially those with racing thoughts and anxiety. learning basic yoga and breathing techniques are beneficial for coping with stress, and I think spending time working with an individual to at least attempt this will have positive results on their mental health. Restful sleep is important for maintaining physical and mental health.

2 things that I will be taking away from this class are the parenting styles and how kids develop. This will be helpful when we start the foster care classes in 2017 and begin to foster a child in the attempts to adopt. It’s helped me adjust the way I think parents should behave and given me new tools to approach parenting.



I felt that my blog only needed to be changed in one area. I changed my about me to discuss what I’m interested in when it comes to social work instead of using my essay that I wrote for admission. My admission essay was too long, especially combined with my CV.  I did not change the rest because I felt confident in my CV, since it describes what I have accomplished over the last several years.

Stress has a direct impact on mental and physical health. It can impact our immune system because stress utilizes energy that would normally be used for the immune system, it causes the body to enter into flight or fight (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). chronic stress impacts cortisol levels which are linked to cardiovascular disease (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). It also can impact mental health, especially to try and reduce loss of resources (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). These negative stressors significantly impact people physiologically, emotionally, and cognitively (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Chronic stress can lead to more negative emotions which has an impact on mental health (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals. Harlow: Pearson Education.



Growing up in an authoritarian household, there was no questioning if the the authorities were truthful or not. I remember my teen years being very black and white. Parents and teachers knew the correct path, I listened to them and followed direction. There was definitely an in group and out group that was developed during my teenage years. Parental influence indicated what the in group was (me, my family, teachers, and certain peers) and who the out group was (“bad” peers and people in the neighborhood) (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). I would say that multiplicity occurred later for me, mostly when I entered into the college lifestyle. It was at this point I began to see that there are different perspectives and these perspectives were not incorrect, such as religion and various philosophies. I still looked towards professors for clarification and guidance, but was more comfortable making most decisions. According to the authors, it is not uncommon for people in this stage to need assistance from authority figures.

It wasn’t until grad school (the first time) that I began to really take a more relativism stance with position 5 (contextual relativism). Previously I was aware of other perspective and new that they weren’t necessarily incorrect, I just felt my way of thinking was more justified because my thoughts were supported. During grad school, there was more discussion and facts to support various opinions. When there were reasons as to why a person developed these opinions, I became more respectful. It is when the person cannot provide valid facts to support their statements that I begin to question if their opinion is legitimate.

I would think that two events that could help young adults develop into their current level of thinking are when they develop independence from familiar surroundings and moving away from perpetual authorities.   Also, as a person begins to form romantic attachments away from the home, they become exposed to valid points of view that causes situations where the person has to reevaluate their beliefs and opinions through new exposures.

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals. Harlow: Pearson Education.



I was partnered with Stephanie C. and we reviewed our websites. 3 things that I would change for Stephanie’s website:

  1. Adjust the font size or type, it’s difficult to read without zooming in
  2. Add additional information to the about me section
  3. Add the CV to the CV section

1 positive aspect that influenced my development was my peer group. I did not find my peer group until junior year of high school, but when I did, I began to become more confident in my skills and abilities. My peer group was a mix of ethnicities that was focused on excelling in school and developing our artistic skills. We were not part of the popularity-conscious crowds, but were most likely associated with the average crowds, who were not openly hostile to us, but still had concern about grades (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). According to Broderick and Blewitt, four fifths of adolescent males have encounters with the police. I think because of who my peers were,w hat was important to our group, and the general support that was provided, it protected me from risky behaviors that could have impacted my educational opportunities.

1 negative aspect that influenced my development was parenting style. My parents style of parenting was authoritarian which had an impact on on my development. Authoritarian parents are typically lower on responsiveness while being demanding (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). My parents were extremely demanding and the environment was not democratic, and in direct response I chose to withhold as much information as possible from my parents in order to limit their involvement in my daily life (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals. Harlow: Pearson Education.


Tonight this class had a self-assessment. One thing that I will do for the rest of the semester to contribute to my personal learning experience is working on studying. I haven’t failed an assignment, but it takes twice as much work to understand the material because I am letting myself be overwhelmed. My plan is to break down the chapters over a three day period, that way it less pressure to complete everything at once. I think that having the objectives and reading 1/3 of the chapter over 3 days and filling out my responses to the objectives will help with retention.

I think one of the ways that I can contribute to the collaborative learning experience is sharing the materials that I make in order to help me study. I typically type responses to the objectives, and it may be helpful to others if they had a copy to add to their study materials. I just know that having a summary has been helpful for my studies because it creates a focus area.


I was raised in a American culture that values individuality and defined gender norms. Males are expected to be assertive, definitely not shy or experiencing social anxiety, and practice rough and tumble play (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). In western society, behavior is judged. If a male child behaves in a cautious way, they are often rejected by peers (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Males tend to have very specific gender norms that allow very little crossover. It is not considered acceptable to have a boy play with “girl only” toys (i.e. dolls, dresses, make up). This is changing, but the general society does promote gender specific toys and appearance.

Females on the other hand have a little more flexibility. Females have a little more fluidity in their appearance, ranging from feminine clothes (dresses), to more masculine clothes (jeans/tshirt). There can be some pushback from society, but most girls/women are not required to only wear specific articles of clothing. Also, society is more tolerant of girls that act tomboyish, i.e. joining sports and other physical activities. These types of play are often associated with males, who supposedly have superior gross motor skills, while females tend to have better fine motor skills (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

For both genders in western cultures, children are expected to “defend themselves, to negotiate, and to seek fairness for themselves, often with an adult acting as an arbitrator (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).” Essentially the children are expected to problem solve as a group under guidance.  There is expected independence for both genders, regardless of societal expectations.

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals. Harlow: Pearson Education.



There are different accounts to what visual electronic media in childhood does to the children. In one study there appeared to be a link in infants/toddlers that viewing electronic devices negatively impacted their attention (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Research has also shown that there is little, if any benefit to TV viewing, but it does take away from other activities that provide proper stimulation for cognitive development, especially if it was entertainment and/or violent (the more violent the greater the impact on attention) (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). The most important thing is to make sure that the adults are interacting with the children, even if there is an electronic device being utilized.

There are some positive outcomes from introduction to electronic devices though. Introducing children to electronic devices can help with academics, the more experience they receive, the better they do (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). There is also improvements in vision and fine motor skills through the use of games, but like what was stated before, these were on older children, not infant/toddlers (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). If you are wanting to introduce electronics to children, it is best to wait until they are after the age of 2 (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). As they get older, there may be more desire to spend ample time on the electronics. This is when the guardian should set time limits on the media device so it doesn’t interfere with other needed areas of development (i.e. academics)(Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). It is also important to monitor who the children are in contact with online, and to try and help the children get a better understanding of programs (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). The time spent on the computer, or other media devices, should be utilized for development, not strictly entertainment. Parent interaction is still important.

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals. Harlow: Pearson Education.


The 4 parenting styles are authoritative, authoritarian, permissive, and neglectful. One character from pop culture is Maya from the new show is Modern Family. Cam appears to be a permissive parent. He is highly responsive to his daughter, but does not appear to put a lot of demands on her. Throughout the series he shown reacting to what his daughter does, but without discipline. One example is when she locks her parents’ out of he bedroom in defiance. She refused to listen while Cam attempted to negotiate and reason with her.

He has showed periods of time where he did not say no, and had overall less control of his daughter’s actions. One example was when she was flipping switches and his hand was stuck in the garbage disposal. Instead of saying no, he attempted induction, but did his main goal was redirection. He wanted to change his daughter’s behavior through positive means.

His daughter tends to be sharp tongued and prone to anger/out bursts at frustrating events. A couple of examples of this are her outburst at her parents’ embarrassing dancing and when she got into a verbal fight with one of their friends. She was manipulative and attempted to prevent her parents from embarrassing her. She never was never officially disciplined.

Cam is nurturing by being cognizant of his daughter’s feelings and trying to maintain a positive environment, but has not shown strong discipline or expectations throughout the series. Often his daughter is doing what she wants to do without any real guidelines from Cam, but he has always shown her attention and tried to involve her in events. Throughout the series he is concerned about her well being, participates in her activities, and generally attempts to keep a happy relationship with his daughter.



Reflecting on the New York Longitudinal Study (1977) of behavioral traits of infants, how might the effectiveness of caregiving behaviors be different for children with each temperament (name and address 3 traits specifically)? How could that affect level of attachment between caregiver/parents and child?

The behavioral traits of caregivers and the temperament of the infant may not always match. The three different temperaments of infants are difficult babies, easy babies, and slow-to-warm-up babies (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Babies that are difficult tend to be more irritable, negative, and fearful; while easy babies are the opposite, they are less active, but more positive (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Slow-to-warm-up babies are similar to difficult babies, but are less intense (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

A caregiver that is attentive and sensitive to the babies needs will produce a child that is securely attached; however, caregivers that insensitive or neglectful will have children that develop attachment problems (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). If a parent the parent is neglectful or abusive to the baby, regardless of temperament, there will be an increased chance of attachment disorders. Sensitive caregivers, even with difficult babies, will find that attachment will still develop at a healthy pace, even though it may be more difficult to soothe the infant. The difficult babies will be more taxing to the caregivers, mostly because it is more difficult to care for them, but with support and sensitivity, the caregiver can develop the attachment and produce a child that has better emotion regulation, which will make it easier for the caregiver as the child grows A caregiver that is attentive and sensitive to the babies needs will produce a child that is securely attached; however, caregivers that insensitive or neglectful will have children that develop attachment problems (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015).

Also babies can have several different traits. They can be fearful, irritable, and have positive affect to name a few (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Babies that tend to be fearful tend to cry more or pull away, babies that are irritable tend to be more fussy, while babies that are naturally positive tend to smile and laugh more (Broderick & Blewitt, 2015). Like with temperaments, the outcome of attachment is directly tied to the behaviors of the caregivers. The more difficult infants will be taxing, it will be harder to soothe them, but if the caregiver does not respond with sensitivity, the infant will be more likely to have developmental problems. This is similar for children that are more fussy, they will respond negatively to anything that they view as frustrating, which requires patience from the parents. Positive affect babies are the easiest.

Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals. Harlow: Pearson Education.

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