The biopsychosocial framework refers to three different entities: biological, psychological, and sociocultural. It is crucial to understand this model, especially when it comes to the topic of health. We must realize that biological, psychological, and sociocultural factors all contribute to an individual’s health. The biological forces refer to all genetic and health related factors. These are what humans are born with, half of our traits given to us by each parent. These factors are completely out of our control and cannot by manipulated. Being a group of physiological developments that lead to maturity, including things such as nutrition and hormonal effects. The biological force is concerned with how the body continues to develop. Psychological forces include all internal cognitive, emotional, perceptual, and personality factors which underlie human behavior, feelings, and emotions and how they may relate to early human experience. As we get older, we gain experience and understand that the world is more complex than we can imagine. Things like personality, learning abilities, making the right choices are consistent of the psychological force. The most obvious changes occur during childhood, such as understanding how to respond to a situation and what choices should be made, but they can also occur during adulthood. As people continue to grow into older age, they learn to control their emotions better and gain wisdom. Sociocultural forces include interpersonal, societal, cultural, and ethnic factors. They are a group of values, ideas, and beliefs that influence how we grow. Examples include morals, habits, and practices made throughout our life. There is a system involved in order to understand human development. This larger system involves our family, such as parents, children, and siblings as well as teachers, friends, and people that we work with. The sociocultural system also includes institutions such as church, school, and work. All of these values fit together to help constitute a person’s culture, forming knowledge, attitude and behavior that can be associated within a group of people. To understand the biopsychosocial framework, certain theories are centered on various aspects of development during growth. In order to understand this, a number of theories of child development have been studied to explain human growth. Critical thinkers such as Erikson, Skinner, Piaget, Bronfenbrenner, and Baltes’ have paved the way for future thinkers to further develop current growth and development theories and introduce novel ones as well. These theories are a way of rationalizing the world and the way living and non-living things behave. The diversity of individualism and the variables that character is dependent on are diverse and different for different individuals.
Erikson classified human development into a series of eight stages that not only involves infancy or childhood, but adulthood as well. Each stage of life is concerned with a corresponding problem that must be solved if happiness is to be had. B.F. Skinner believed that consequences for a behavior determined whether that behavior was repeated in the future. His purpose was to show that consequences could be deemed influential. Positive and negative reinforcements increased the likelihood of the behavior occurring again while punishments decreased that likelihood. Piaget recognized the importance of social interaction within the environment during the development of children. He believed that the nature of human knowledge originates from inside the child. Four distinct stages of cognitive development were created: sensorimotor, preoperational, concrete operational, and formal operational. This theory was based on self-discovery and innate abilities. Bronfenbrenner believed that development depended on interactive environmental systems. He recognized that humans do not develop in isolation, but rather in response to the interactions and experiences involving friends and family. People within a system influence development and once multiple systems interact, optimal development is in effect. Paul Baltes’, who was an advocate for the life-span perspective, believed that “aging is a lifelong process of growing up and growing old, beginning with birth and ending with death. We must know what came before and what is likely to come afterward” (Kail & Cavanaugh 2017). He proposed four ideas that were important to the life-span perspective: multidirectionality, plasticity, historical context, and multiple causation.
When comparing and contrasting between the cognitive development approach and behaviorism theory, the cognitive approach revolves around the idea of understanding the internal processes of the mind and how it is vital in understanding why people do certain things and make certain decisions. Piaget understood that the “core focus of his theory was on the process of people acquiring, processing, and storing information” (San Diego Figure Skating Communications). The behaviorist approach emphasizes external behaviors rather than the internal state of the mental processing of information such as positive and negative reinforcement as well as punishment.
Key concepts that Skinner believed in included reinforcement, conditioning, and punishment. Behaviorism focuses heavily on a person’s behavior in terms of learning. They may look for change in a person’s behavior after experiencing something new. Forming associations between specific stimuli and responses is very important. For example, humans are more likely to learn behaviors if they think it will prompt an exact response. Piaget would disagree because he see’s learning as a mental change that could be reflected in an individual’s behavior, whereas, Skinner considered reinforcement and punishment as the best way to enforce learning.
Understanding human development can help provide more insight in how the patient or client is affected how they are. When we think of development, we think of it as a process that is done once we hit adult life but it’s important to remember that development is a process that happens all throughout the course of our lives. Being a clinician or health care professional, knowing the ins and outs of development can help us gain a better understanding of what’s normal. Although everyone is unique in their own way, growth follows a specific pattern and being familiar with certain terms can help us spot possible signs of trouble, whether it be cognitive, emotional, functional, or social. The sooner developmental issues are found, the faster the person can begin therapy, which can lead to a potentially better outcome.
Kail, R. & Cavanaugh, J. (2017). Essentials of human development : a life-span view. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
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