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Biopsychosocial Perspectives

Components of the Ecological Perspective

Select each of the lenses below to learn more about them, and then answer the following questions that apply to the Carla Washburn.

The biological dimension refers to the role of biological systems—be they within our bodies (e.g. genetic predispositions), or outside (e.g. airborne pathogens that impact our functioning), upon our health and well-being.

  • What does the literature say about the correlation between race (specifically being African-American) and onset of diabetes? What are some of the hypotheses that researchers have put forward to explain this correlation?

  • In the first phase of the interventive process, a suggestion was made that there might be a link between Ms. Washburn’s diabetes and the fall that she took. How might those two be linked?

The psychological dimension refers to the role of thoughts, emotion, and behavior on individual, group, or community functioning. Inclusion of this dimension also requires us to look at the mind-body connection in the assessment of a variety of common social work phenomena such as the emotional regulation of stress.

  • It is important for Ms. Washburn to keep her diabetes under control. Two important factors in maintaining control are diet and exercise. What are some cognitive-behavioral strategies you might help Ms. Washburn to use so that she can adhere to a good management regimen?

  • Ms. Washburn lost her husband within months of losing her son and his wife, and Roland Jr. moving in with her. What are the implications of these losses and life changes piling up one on top of the other so quickly?

The social dimension refers to how individuals relate to various groups and institutions in society–and how groups and institutions relate to individuals, or classes of individuals.

  • What is the role of social support in the management of depression? What social supports can be put in place for Ms. Washburn, as she struggles with her depression over the loss of her grandson?

  • What is the "helper-therapy" principle? If you do not know about this principle, you can use web resources to find out. How might this principle apply to Ms. Washburn? Given the people and resources in her environment, what specific suggestions would you make?

The spiritual dimension refers to the role of religious or spiritual belief on well-being.

  • How has the church functioned historically in the African-American community?

  • What are the barriers between the church and Ms. Washburn that make its usefulness as a resource difficult for her?

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My Values

Compare social work values with your own personal values.