Conditions of Use
This review is based on a downloaded PDF file of the text. The table of contents covers relevant areas appropriately. That said, in reading the chapters, content is not always placed into a broader context for the course. Individual chapters are... read more
This review is based on a downloaded PDF file of the text. The table of contents covers relevant areas appropriately. That said, in reading the chapters, content is not always placed into a broader context for the course. Individual chapters are sourced from a variety of places and the relevance and clarity of content is uneven. Each chapter provides its own reference list; some Parts and/or Chapters of the text include lists of definitions. No overall index and/or glossary is provided. Using the PDF version led to some difficulties with accessing video links and reading tables and boxes.
There are occasional errors. For example, it is inappropriate to describe the disease model and medical model as distinct (p. 66), since these terms are often considered synonymous (Swaine, 2011). It would be more appropriate to distinguish between the medical model and the biopsychosocial model (Basel, 2017), or between the medical model and the interactional model/framework (Shulman, 2016). To give another example, it is inaccurate to use the term ‘critical practice theory’ (p. 101), although critical practice methods in social work are grounded in critical theory. Development across the lifespan material, however, is comprehensive and up-to-date (text Parts V through XII).
In Part IV, the definition given for racism is very recently outdated and needs to include a discussion of how/why it has been revised (e.g., Merriam-Webster, 2021). Chapter 8 “Racial & Ethnic Inequality” in Part IV needs to be updated and substantively revised to more accurately reflect the depth of the historical and social problems it describes. That said, including Part IV Chapters 5 – 8 is a strength of this text (see Cultural Relevance, below).
The material in parts / chapters is reflects inconsistent editing that occasionally impacts clarity. In Part III, for example, Chapter 3 “Theoretical Perspectives” focuses on sociological theories and is extremely clear, although this material is often covered in HBSE II rather than HBSE I. Chapter 4, however, needs editing, e.g., “As the symbolic interactionist perspective discussed in Chapter 1 ‘Sociology and the Sociological Perspective’ emphasizes, shared symbols make social interaction possible.” This sentence is inaccurate, as the perspective is discussed in Chapter 3 “Theoretical Perspectives,” not Chapter 1, which this text titles “How We Use Our Expectations.” Another example, “…about equal proportions have no language at all or only pictures…” probably intends to state “…no written language at all…” based on the pie chart being described (p. 125). Two versions of the table showing Theory of Mind components are present, one on page 522 and one on page 523. Editing is needed in Chapter 14 on page 525, which refers to a “greater discussion on disorders affecting children” that will “take place in Chapter 5.” When adapting chapters from other OER sources, it is important to ensure that material flows clearly and correctly.
It would help to have the introductory material that is provided for each Roman numeral Part of the text, prior to the first chapter in each section, structured in a standardized way. As it stands, introductory material can sometimes be confusing rather than helpful. The parallel chapter structure of Parts VI through XII, by contrast, is very helpful.
The text is indeed easily and readily divisible into smaller reading sections that can be assigned at different points within the course. The single long chapter in Part V, Chapter 9 “Heredity, Prenatal Development, & Birth,” is about 60 pages of reading that might benefit from being subdivided into two or more chapters. The content in Chapter 9 is excellent.
The topics in the text are presented in a logical, clear fashion under the Contents tab online, and in the Table of Contents of the PDF file download. The first two chapters of the text, and their introductory material in Parts I & II respectively, need to be revised and expanded to improve structure and flow. It might help to explicitly contextualize Chapter 1 within cognitive theory; Chapter 2 needs significant expansion. Social learning theory (e.g., Bandura, Vygotsky) is not mentioned in Chapters 1 through 3. This is an unusual omission, when introducing students to relevant theories and frameworks in HBSE I. Bandura is first mentioned in Chapters 10 & 11, and Vygotsky appears in Chapter 14. It is unfortunate that Chapter 14 repeats verbatim some of the examples that were used during the discussion of Piaget in Chapter 2.
Some video links could not be accessed from the PDF file, although others were usable; the case vignette for Bianca mentioned in Part I/Chapter 1 was not available. Other difficulties with the PDF file download include the table of genetic disorders on page 285 which is too blurry to read, and Box 2.3 on page 305 which can barely be read. The box on page 318 cannot be read, and Table 4.1 on page 471, can only occasionally be understood. These types of legibility concerns appear intermittently throughout the PDF file download.
The text contains occasional grammatical and/or editing errors, e.g., pages 283, 287, 289 and 308 (Chapter 9), and page 358 (Chapter 10). A sentence repeats on page 395 (Chapter 11); a sentence on page 474 is awkward, making it difficult to follow (Chapter 13). These types of issues occur sporadically throughout the text. ‘Constructivist’ is misspelled two ways on page 518 of the PDF file download.
The inclusion of Part IV “The Social Change Dimension” is a great strength of this text. Part IV includes Chapters 5 through 8, which focus respectively on stereotyping, in- & out-groups, reducing discrimination, and racial/ethnic inequality. These are all important topics in today’s world. Chapters 5 through 7 in particular are well referenced. Chapter 8 “Racial & Ethnic Inequality” needs to be updated and substantively revised to more accurately reflect the depth of the historical and social problems it describes. It would be good to further diversify photos/images in chapters of Part VI “Development in Infancy and Toddlerhood,” as they are primarily of white infants and toddlers; this was addressed in Part VII Chapter 13. A number of photos are reused in various chapters. Content in Chapter 15 “Psychosocial Development in Early Childhood” is up-to-date and highly relevant for HBSE I. Chapters on development across the lifespan includes solid coverage of LGBT material.
I appreciate the time it took to locate and combine open source material into a comprehensive HBSE I textbook - selectively using large portions of this text could reduce student book costs substantially for HBSE I.
The text is well organized and comprehensive covering the lifespan of individuals and specific concerns relative human development through the phases of a human life. read more
The text is well organized and comprehensive covering the lifespan of individuals and specific concerns relative human development through the phases of a human life.
The content is appropriate and accurate for the field of social work professionals.
The book provides current research information and theoretical foundations.
Overall the text is well written. But in certain sections of the include grammatical errors and confusing sentence structures.
The content is easy to follow as terms and concepts are used consistently in meaning and purpose.
Overall the text is readable. Each section and chapter is broken up into readable pieces that make it a more manageable text for readers. Certain tables and charts are not as clearly readable though.
I really enjoyed the organization of the text, the sections and chapters. All of the content is presented in logical and practical format. For social workers, or other students using the text, the organization of the text facilitates finding specific areas of content for later use, to refer back to for real-world application.
Overall the text is readable. But there is distortion is some of the images and charts.
Overall the text contains very few grammatical errors, but one section, I believe Chapter 5, contains grammatical errors. It seems as if sections of this chapter were written in haste, or overlooked during proof-reading.
The text is culturally sensitive overall. But there are specific sections, when discussing weight, eating disorders, and obesity that could be improved for sensitivity. Eating disorders are a psychological disorder, not a physical disorder. Obesity is not a choice, often it is the result of greater environmental factors out of the individuals direct control, and especially for children. Obesity does not cause bullying. Bullys cause bullying. The text regarding bullying of obese children is written as if it is the obese child's responsibility to stop the bullying. IT IS NOT. Focus on the bully changing their behavior first. Then provide appropriate, positive approach, guidance for the child to improve self-esteem, increase physical activity, etc.
I am not a social worker, but I am a public health professional in the psycho-social-behavioral field. I would consider using this text as a recommended text for some of the courses I teach, such as Population Health, and Community Health. As this text provides content that would be helpful for my students to understand human behavior through the life stages.
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.