Human Behavior and the Social Environment I
Susan Tyler, University of Arkansas
Copyright Year: 2020
Publisher: University of Arkansas
Conditions of Use
Comprehensiveness: This book is incredibly comprehensive and seems to cover all aspects related to the title and text description. However, there are instances where the choice of what to cover in great detail seems odd. For example, Chapter 9... read more
Comprehensiveness: This book is incredibly comprehensive and seems to cover all aspects related to the title and text description. However, there are instances where the choice of what to cover in great detail seems odd. For example, Chapter 9 includes four pages covering the definition and cause of Chromosomal Abnormalities, however only one diagram explaining how those would affect individual functioning. I don’t know that this warrants less than a full score, but is worth mentioning.
Accuracy: There are no concerns about the accuracy of content included in this this book. For example, Chapter Two: Life Span theories thoroughly explains the works of Freud, Erikson, Kohlberg and Piaget. In contrasts to Freud’s continuous model of personality development, Erikson, Kohlberg and Piaget are accurately identified as Stage Theorists but an explanation of Stage Theory is not included. This omission could affect the accurate understanding students have of the material.
Relevance: As a quick litmus test on the contemporary nature of this text, I searched for the following culturally relevant terms which greatly shape our modern environment. Iphone (4 results), Facebook (0 results in body, 3 in works cited), Twitter (0) and Social Media (2). As these are such cornerstones of current environment we operate in today, I would expect a thorough explanation of these specifics in this 1,300-page textbook to make it relevant for the modern era.
Clarity: This text does a great job of providing adequate context for technical jargon or abstract theories. For example, including President Obama as an example of the ‘One-Drop Rule’ in both Black and Latino cultures in the United States is a great example of the clarity. I have no concerns about this part. However, the prose is not as fluid as it could be. In each chapter, there are frequent statements that distract from the content due to the awkward nature of the writing. For example, the use of the word and twice in the following sentence is distracting: ‘Sociologists study social events, interactions, and patterns, and they develop a theory in an attempt to explain why things work as they do’.
Consistency: I have no concerns about the books internal consistency after reviewing. Here are two good examples. The term ‘Intimate Partner Violence’ is used nine times in the text, while Domestic Violence (the outdated term) is only used twice, in referencing past materials. Additionally, the first chapter includes a thorough explanation of the Ecological Theory, which is then referenced both by name and content in later chapters.
Modularity: This text struggled with modularity. Although it was cleanly broken up into chapters based on content, there weren’t units within those chapters that would provide for an easy way to teach part of this course on different days or as excerpts. Chapter length varied from 30 pages to over 100, with the average being 50. Given how comprehensive the content coverage is, it would be difficult to pick out relevant highlights for classes that met more than weekly or used multiple texts.
Organization: I liked the organization of this book. It’s divided into 12 sections with 30 chapters. Beginning with ‘Dimensions’ or orientations is a coherent and macro way to provide an introduction to the material with the first four chapters. Those even get more abstract as they progress. That the latter eight sections are based on development / life span is a coherent way to apply the schema/heuristics/macro theories to individuals. I feel that many authors would have felt a need to explain the person before their role in the environment. That being said, the inclusion of References section at the end of each chapter was very distracting and polluted the content. For example, Chapter 16 has 10 pages of content, and then 16 pages of References. This means there is more than a 100% gap between the content of each chapter. In conclusion, I believe the references need to be all at the end of the book.
Interface: There are many options when it comes to online OER’s. Some function as their own mini-learning management systems and include quizzes, discussion forums, journal writing activities etc. This text does not include those things and functions only as a textbook. This is reasonable and would not affect my choice to implement it in a course I’m teaching; however, there are several diagrams that do not show clearly when the text does, despite resizing. The table on page 287 is an example of this.
Grammatical: There were no grammatical errors in this text. No typo’s or homonyms used inappropriately. The only distracting issue was the sentence structure and the lack of fluidity (included above).
Cultural: I have absolutely no concerns about cultural influences included in this text. The book does a terrific job of covering both dominant and non-dominant populations in the US and other countries.
Although there are parts of this textbook I like, I would hesitate to replace a traditional textbook with this OER for the following reasons. Although it seems minor, I found the sentence structure/fluency of writing to be distracting from the content. Secondly, the decision about the level of detail to include in minor learning objectives took away from an emphasis on the major components of the Person in the Environment theory. Finally, the exhaustive reference sections in the middle of each chapter would interfere with student engagement.
Table of Contents
- I. The Person in Environment
- II. The Biopsychosocial Dimension
- III. The Sociocultural Dimension
- IV. The Social Change Dimension
- V. Pre-Pregnancy & Prenatal Development
- VI. Development in Infancy & Toddlerhood
- VII. Development in Early Childhood
- VIII. Development in Middle Childhood
- IX. Development in Adolescence
- X. Development in Early Adulthood
- XI. Development in Middle Adulthood
- XII. Development in Late Adulthood
About the Book
That’s what we are here to find out – Human Behavior and the Social Environment (HBSE) – How do they connect? How does it shape us? Why do we think and feel the way we do?
This will be explored throughout this course by examining human behavior throughout life stage developments and our interactions with the social environment. This course will explore theoretical perspectives in Social Work to help provide a foundation for organizing thoughts about client needs and issues they are seeking supports for. Theories will then be connected to important developmental, social, and cultural issues that present throughout each stage of life to create an overall picture of a client’s experience and how we can use this information to have a better understanding of how people we work with are influenced and why. Knowledge of typical development in each stage of life will also inform the Social Worker if any other supports, resources, or services may be needed.
About the Contributors
Susan Tyler, MSW, LCSW – Clinical Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Professor Tyler has been teaching at the School of Social Work since Spring 2018. Before joining the School of Social Work, she worked in a community based mental health agency for over 10 years with a focus in Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and School-Based Mental Health services revolving around issues related to trauma, abuse, attachment, anxiety, depression, domestic violence, foster care, adjustments, disruptive behaviors, and ADHD, through use of play therapy techniques and dyadic interventions.