Bronfenbrenner's Mesosystem: Definition & Examples

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Piaget's Sensorimotor Stage of Development: Definition & Examples

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 What is a Mesosystem?
  • 0:26 Ecological Systems Theory
  • 2:53 The Mesosystem
  • 5:00 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Urie Bronfenbrenner is a Russian-American psychologist who first introduced the ecological systems theory. Learn about Urie Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory, the five environmental systems, and more.

What Is a Mesosystem?

Before we get into the details of Urie Bronfenbrenner's theories, we need to define the basic idea of the mesosystem. Simply put, the mesosystem contains the relationship between the microsystems. The mesosystem concept is a part of ecological systems theory.

Bronfenbrenner's Ecological Systems Theory

Ecological systems theory was developed by Russian-American psychologist Urie Bronfenbrenner in 1979. Bronfenbrenner believed that the way in which a child develops is not only influenced by his or her immediate environment, but also by things in the surrounding environment, such as culture and the government. Ecological systems theory is also referred to as bioecological systems theory due to Bronfenbrenner's emphasis on the role that a child's biology plays in their development.

According to Bronfenbrenner's theory, there are five environmental systems that influence a child's development. If there are changes or conflicts present in any single system, it can cause changes in the others. The systems are:

  • Microsystem
  • Mesosystem
  • Exosystem
  • Macrosystem
  • Chronosystem

Here you can see an illustration of Bronfenbrenner's ecological systems theory:

Ecological Systems Theory
Bronfenbrenners theory

You may notice that at the center of the illustration is a child. This illustration shows us the unique environmental variables that influence a child's development within each of the five environmental systems.

The green circle represents the microsystem, which is the child's immediate surroundings. Peers and schools are both a part of the microsystem.

The mesosystem is represented by the tan circle. This is the main topic of our lesson and will be discussed in more detail in a minute.

The exosystem is represented by the blue circle and contains the environmental settings that have an indirect but profound influence on the child. This includes the parent's work environment.

The macrosystem is represented by the purple circle and includes the cultural context that the child currently lives in. The cultural beliefs and customs are a part of the macrosystem.

The white crescent shape represents the chronosystem, which consists of the transitions over the life course and environmental events. An example would be growing up during the civil rights movement.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account