Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory

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Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory
Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory identifies 5 environmental systems that act with bi-directional influences amongst context and individuals to describe human development.
From most intimate to least intimate, the components of this theory include: microsystems, mesosystems, exosystems, macrosystems, and chronosystems (Berk, 2010). This paper will describe how each of these systems shapes an individual’s life progression by analyzing their effects at the ages of twenty-five and forty-five on an interviewee, Kitty. These ages were chosen specifically because of the significant gap in their maturity levels. The majority of people experience different settings and relationships as young adults than they do later in their life and therefore the contexts the individual faces will be appropriately different at each of the two time periods.
The most immediate connections and activities that are made on a day-to-day basis fall under the category of a microsystem (Berk, 2010). The birth of Kitty’s first daughter falls under this level of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory. At the age of twenty-five, Kitty’s daughter became the center of her attention and therefore one of the most important microsystems in her life at this time. She gave her child support, comfort, and everything necessary for survival, while the child motivated her mother to mature and take on more responsibility. This is an example of how there is always a bi-directional influence of the context on the individual.
This system can also be found later in the development of Kitty’s life in her relationship with close friends. Now, at the age of forty-five her children no longer live at home, and Kitty’s microsystem focus has shifted to the relationships she has forged with close friends. On Friday
Nights, Kitty and her husband go out to dinner with another couple, the Jensen’s thus providing each other with friendship and advice.



References: Berk, L. (2010). Development through the lifespan. Boston, MA: Pearson Publishing.

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