Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Theory of Development

Topics: Family, Developmental psychology, Father Pages: 4 (1493 words) Published: July 20, 2010
Graduate School and the influences that shaped the decision


Survey of Research in Human Development and Behavior

Bronfrenbenner’s Ecological Theory
Urie Bronfrenbenner (1971-2005) created the ecological theory based on different levels to indicate how a child’s environment affects his/her development as well as minor and major life decisions. Bronfenbrenner categorized his theory into four levels: the microsystem, the mesosystem, the exosystem, and the macrosystem. Each level of the theory plays a role in the decision making process and situations throughout a child’s development, which ultimately shape that child into a content, happy, bitter or sad adult. The microsystem “is the small, immediate environment the child lives in”. (Oswalt, 2008, para. 1). This may include immediate family and non-familial relationships that interact with the child during childhood. When the different parts of the child’s microsystem start working in conjunction for the betterment of the child, this generates the mesosystem. The exosystem level influences the child indirectly, as it is comprised of places or people that don’t have personal dealings with the child however still affect the child’s way of life. The last level, the macrosystem, carries the largest weight on a child’s development in that it possesses “things such as the relative freedoms permitted by the national government, cultural values, the economy, wars, etc” (Oswalt, 2008, para. 4). When coupled together, all levels ultimately will some bearing on a child’s development. The Microsystem and Mesosystem Levels

Because the microsystem and mesosystem deals with the immediate family and outside family influences, it’s safe to say that for most children, this includes the home, family, toys, peers, classrooms, and teachers. The home environment will be persuaded by the makeup of the neighborhood. The family will be subjective by such factors as whether a parent is able to take a job that...

References: Ahuja, Y. (n.d). Bronfenbrenner Ecological Theory. [Electronic version]. Retrieved from
Bronfenbrenner, U. 1986. Ecology of the family as a context for human development: Research perspectives. Developmental Psychology 22: 723–742
Oswalt, A. 2008. Urie Bronfenbrenner and Child Development [Electronic version]. Child & Adolescent Development: Overview. Retrieved from
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