DiscoverCounselor Toolbox PodcastSociological Approach to Reducing Risk and Building Resilience
Sociological Approach to Reducing Risk and Building Resilience

Sociological Approach to Reducing Risk and Building Resilience

Update: 2020-08-08


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

Purchase CEUs at:


– 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:









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Sociological Approach to Reducing Risk and Building Resilience

Sociological Approach to Reducing Risk and Building Resilience

Charles Snipes