Dana teaches social sciences at the college level and English and psychology at the high school level. She has master's degrees in applied, clinical and community psychology.
Take a look through some old photos of yourself. You may have many photographs of when you were a baby and young child. Compare those to a photograph of you today. How have you changed? You are probably taller, heavier and may look quite different than you did in your earliest days of life. This ongoing process of maturing is called human development.
Human development occurs constantly throughout the lifespan as we grow and change. Developmental psychologists examine the different forces that impact how we grow and develop throughout life. The biopsychosocial approach to development is based on the idea that biological, psychological and social factors are all affecting the way we develop.
To understand the biopsychosocial approach to development, let's imagine a developing person in the center of a triangle. One edge of the triangle is filled with biological factors. The second edge is made up of psychological factors. Finally, the third side of the triangle consists of social factors. These three sides push and pull on that individual as he develops. Now let's look at what each factor contributes to overall development.
Take another look at a recent photo of yourself. What color is your hair? How about your eyes? Are you tall? How about your skin tone? Now, think about your relatives. Do you see a resemblance or any similarities? A lot of who we are is the result of genetics. Children receive genetic material from their mother and from their father. This is why you may have features similar to one or both parents.
Genes represent biological factors, or ingrained aspects of a person, in development. Some of these are easily seen, such as hair color and skin tone. Biological factors can also be unseen, such as genetic abnormalities and risks for certain problems or diseases. For example, if one of your parents had diabetes, you have an increased risk for developing it. Developmental psychologists working from a biopsychosocial perspective believe that part of who we become is the result of genes or biological forces.
Now that we have examined your appearance, let's look at your behavior. How do you approach new situations? How do you deal with stress? Are you a pretty relaxed person or are you high-strung and always on the go? Your answers to these questions help to describe the psychological factors, or the thought processes behind a person's behavior, that contribute to who you are.
Psychological factors include things such as temperament and coping skills. However, other things like how you deal with anxiety are equally as important to consider. For example, if you are a positive person with good coping skills, chances are good that your will health will be better than someone who is negative and constantly stressed out. The biopsychosocial approach to development views one's psychological attributes as influential factors in how he or she grows and changes over time.
What are your relationships like? Do you have people who are close to you that you can count on for care and support? How about your neighborhood? Is it safe? Do you have everything you need close by? These are questions aimed at getting a peek into the social factors, another name for environmental factors, that are influencing your development. For example, if you live in a community where the crime rate is low and you are able to visit a doctor when you need to, your development will probably benefit.
The biopsychosocial approach to development views social factors, along with biological and psychological factors, as important in terms of understanding how an individual grows and matures throughout the lifespan. Social factors include the relationships that someone has, one's environment and even the cultural influences of that person, and all are important in development. As with biological and psychological factors, positive social factors can enhance development while negative influences can deter development.
Human beings grow and develop throughout the lifespan. Developmental psychologistswho are social scientists that examine the different forces that impact how we grow and develop throughout life, use the biopsychosocial approach to explain maturation in terms of multiple factors. It's based on the idea that biological, psychological and social factors are all affecting the way we develop.
Biological factors, or ingrained aspects of a person, influence development because of genetic material that is inherited from the parents. Psychological factors, or the thought processes behind a person's behavior, such as temperament, also affect development. Social factors, or another name for environmental factors, like culture and relationships, contribute to overall development as well. Each of these factors contributes to who that person becomes.
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