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

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– 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

– 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 and mood disordered 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: