Child Family Society 312
Professor Stephanie Heald
September 10, 2012
The Bioecological Model of Human Development
Urie Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Human Development has four basic systems. These four systems include the microsystem, mesosystem, ecosystem and macrosystem. These bio directional systems are interactions the child experiences that are responsible for shaping their socialization process. In this paper I will identify all of the four systems and the influences that they have on a child’s development. I will explain how the systems in the model differ from one another. I will analyze the outside influences that impact a child’s development, and provide examples of the relationships and interactions for each of the four systems. Because of the impact the relationships and interactions have on a child’s development I will show the importance of the Bioecological Model of Human Development. The development of the ecological theories that shape development was theorized by Urie Bronfenbrenner. He described the four systems that contain settings and factors that influence a child’s development. His Bioecological Systems Theory, shows while biological changes in a child are the primary sources of development, the external factors are huge contributors as well. It is stated that the body supports and directs all body actions and operations influenced by the outward interaction with the environment. That explains why the child thrives with positive results with proper input or negative repercussions with negative input. “ James Garbarino states “ The child who is not adequately nurtured or loved , such as one who is brought up in an abrasive or dysfunctional family , may have developmental problems.” (Berns,R 2012)
The first system that influences development is the microsystem. The microsystem refers to the interaction and relationship that the individual has with significant figures in their life such as, family, peers, school, and the community (Berns, 2010). The microsystem has the biggest impact on the child because it is whom the child comes in contact with the most. How a child acts or reacts to these people in the microsystem will affect how they treat her in return. Each child's special genetic and biologically influenced personality traits, or temperament, ends up affecting how others treat them. In the microsystem, relationships have impact in two-directions , both away from the child and toward the child. For example, a child’s parents may affect his beliefs and behavior; however, the child also affects the behavior and beliefs of the parents. Bronfenbrenner calls these bi-directional influences, and he states they occur among all levels of environment. The interaction of structures within a layer and interactions of structures between layers is integral to his theory. At the microsystem level, bi-directional influences are strongest and have the greatest effect on the child. However, interactions at outer levels can still impact the inner structures. An example of a positive microsystem would be a nurturing caring family, who gives their child opportunities to initiate activity and live in a language rich environment. The child feels security from parents that model desirable behaviors, so the child is confident to model them as well. An example of a negative microsystem would be the orphans in Romania under the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu who experienced Reactive Attachment Disorder. This is when the absence of a consistently available attachment figure or maltreatment of these babies caused severe social and emotional consequences later. It is likely there is a critical period for the development of neurological pathways underlying the organization of the attachment system and that early care experiences are central to this development. ( Chaffin M, Hanson R, Saunders B, 2006) This extreme...