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Sociological Approach to Reducing Risk and Building Resilience
Instructor: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes PhD, LPC-MHSP, LMHC
Executive Director: AllCEUs Counseling CEUs and Specialty Certificates
Podcast Host: Counselor Toolbox, Happiness Isn’t Brain Surgery

Counseling CEUs can be earned at AllCEUs Counselor Continuing Education

~ Define the socio-ecological model
~ Apply the socioecological model to addiction
~ Explore different variables in the socio-ecological model
~ Discuss how this framework can be used in prevention and treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders
~ Prevention can take the form of:
~ Preventing the problem
~ Preventing worsening of the problem
~ Preventing associated fall out

Socio-Ecological Model
~ This model explores and explains human behavior as the interaction between the individual and 5 environmental systems
~ The Microsystem
~ The Mesosystem
~ The Exosystem
~ The Macrosystem
~ The Chronosystem
Exploring the Model
~ Microsystem: Institutions and groups that most directly impact the person including: personal biology, family, school, church, peers, neighborhood.

~ Mesosystem: Interconnections between microsystems
~ Interactions between the family and teachers, relationship between the child’s peers and the family
~ How does the mesosystem impact the development of mental health (or illness)?
~ How does mental health (or illness) impact the mesosystem?
Exploring the Model
~ Exosystem: Involves links between a social setting in which the individual does not have a direct active role (spouse’s work, community) and the individual's immediate context (home environment).

~ Macrosystem: Describes the culture (i.e. socioeconomic status, poverty, and ethnicity.) People, homes and individual work places are part of a large cultural context.

~ How does the Exosystem (social setting in which the individual does not have a direct active role (i.e. spouse’s work, community events—unemployment, high foreclosure rate) impact:
~ The family
~ The development of mental health (or illness)?
Exploring the Model
~ Chronosystem: Events and transitions over the life course, as well as sociohistorical (birth, divorce, marriage, moves)

~ How does the attitude of the culture impact
~ The community
~ The family
~ The development of mental health (or illness)?
~ How do the community, family and individual with mental health (illness) impact the culture
Individual (Biological and Personal History) Risk Factors
~ Pre-Existing Mental Illness
~ Chronic Pain
~ Low self-esteem
~ Substance use
~ History of abuse
~ Genetic vulnerability
~ Inappropriate coping responses
~ Violence/ aggression
~ Risk taking /impulsivity
Individual (Biological and Personal History) Risk Factors
~ Rebelliousness
~ Rejection of pro-social values
~ Lack of peer refusal skills
~ Being bullied
~ Early and persistent problem behaviors
~ Early sexual activity
~ Peer rejection
~ Academic Failure
~ Lack of information on positive health behaviors

Individual Protective Factors
~ Positive health/wellness behaviors
~ Bonding to pro-social culture
~ Participation in extracurricular activities
~ Positive relationships with adults
~ Social competence
~ Sense of well-being/self confidence
~ Has positive future plans
~ Knowledge about risks associated with addictive behaviors
~ Negative attitudes toward substances and substance use


Individual Prevention Strategies
~ Prevention strategies are designed to promote attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that ultimately provide the person with
~ Healthy coping skills
~ Awareness of positive health behaviors
~ Effective interpersonal skills (communication/boundary setting etc.)
~ Specific approaches may include education and life skills training.
~ Schools
~ Media
~ Community center/library workshops

Mesosystem/Relationship Risk Factors
~ The second level examines close relationships that may increase the risk of experimenting with high-risk behaviors or developing mood disorders
~ A person's closest social circle-peers, partners and family members-influences their behavior and contributes to their range of experience.
Peer and Family Risk Factors
~ Peer/Family reinforcement of negative or unhealthy norms and expectations
~ Early sexual activity among peers
~ Ties to deviant peers/gang involvement
~ Family members don't spend much time together
~ Parents have trouble keeping track of youth
~ Lack of clear rules and consequences
~ Lack of consistent expectations and limits
~ Family conflict/abuse
~ Loss of employment


Peer and Family Protective Factors
~ Close family relationships
~ Relationships with peers involved in prosocial activities
~ Consistency of parenting
~ Education is encouraged. Parents are actively involved
~ Copes with stress in a positive way
~ Clear expectations and limits
~ Supportive relationships with caring adults beyond the immediate family are encouraged
~ Share family responsibilities, including chores / decision making
~ Family members are nurturing and support each other

Peer and Family Interventions
~ Designed to
~ Improve self-esteem
~ Identify norms, goals and expectations
~ Foster problem solving skills
~ Develop structure and consistency
~ Promote healthy relationships
School Risk Factors
~ Lack of clear expectations, both academic and behavioral
~ Students lack commitment or sense of belonging at school
~ High numbers of students fail academically at school
~ Parents and community members not actively involved
School Protective Factors
~ Positive attitudes toward school
~ Regular school attendance
~ High academic & behavioral expectations are communicated
~ Goal-setting, academic achievement and positive social development are encouraged
~ Positive instructional climate
~ Leadership and decision making opportunities for students
~ Active involvement of students, parents and community members are fostered
~ School responsive to students' needs (tutoring, safety, food)

Community Risk Factors
~ The characteristics of settings, in which social relationships occur which are associated with developing mood disorders and addictive behaviors, such as:
~ Schools
~ Workplaces
~ Neighborhoods
Community Risk Factors
~ No sense of “connection” to community
~ Neighborhood disorganization
~ Rapid changes in neighborhood
~ High unemployment
~ Lack of strong social institutions
~ Lack of monitoring youths' activities
~ Imbalanced media portrayals of safety, health, appropriate behavior
~ Misleading advertising
~ Alcohol/other drugs readily available

Community Prevention Strategies
~ Prevention strategies at this level are typically designed to impact the social and physical environment by:
~ Reducing social isolation
~ Improving economic and housing opportunities
~ Increasing the accuracy and improving the positivity of media messages

Community Prevention Strategies
~ Improving the climate, processes, and policies within
~ Community
~ School
~ Workplace

~ Bio-Socioecological Model identifies how the individual impacts and is impacted by not only his own characteristics, but also those of family, peers, community and culture
~ Prevention can take the form of
~ Preventing the problem
~ Preventing worsening of the problem
~ Preventing associated fall out
~ Any change in the system will have an effect on all other parts of the system
~ Addressing addictive behaviors requires a multipronged approach
~ Individual
~ Family
~ Community

~ This presentation was recorded as part of a live, interactive webinar. If you are watching it on replay, please remember you can contact her on her personal chat page: