Module 6: Social Context Theories

Module 6: Key Terms

behavioral economics: a model of individual decision-making based on rationale choices weighing pros and cons, risks and benefits, and rules-of-thumb of their options; the model integrates neuroscience and psychology.

codependency: describes a pattern of dysfunctional behaviors between two individuals, one with a disease/disorder (e.g., addiction) and the other who becomes emotionally and psychologically dependent on the partner’s disordered behavior at the expense of his or her own self and needs. Note that this is a controversial concept!

deviance theory: theory explaining behavior that is outside the bounds of or violates conventional norms of society.

exosystem: elements of the social ecology that have an indirect effect on individual development and behavior without the individual’s regular, direct interaction; effect is often mediated through more intimate systems.

family disease model: a perspective about addiction as a disease affecting the entire family, not just the individual experiencing addiction. Note: elements of this model are controversial!

family system: the family is viewed in systems dynamic terms where the family is more than a group of related individuals; it involves the interactions, relationships, and roles that exist across the family, as well as both how individuals affect the system and how the system affects individuals.

homophily: the principle describing a human tendency to engage socially with people similar to ourselves.

labeling theory: sociological principal explaining individuals’ deviant behaviors as resulting from having a deviant label applied to them; living up to the label applied to them.

microaggression: insults, dismissal, and degradation of individuals, usually from a group defined by race or ethnicity; while these incidents fall short of physical aggression, they are experienced as a form of violence by the persons targeted.

macrosystem: the broad cultural systems in which individuals live and that influence individual development and behavior.

mesosystem: systems that have direct impact on individual development and behavior through their interaction with the more intimate microsystem within which the individual exists.

microsystem: the most immediate, direct social system with which individuals interact on a regular basis, having a strong direct impact on individual development and behavior.

physical environment: elements of the places and spaces where individuals function on a regular basis; may offer opportunities or barriers that influence individual development and behavior.

social ecological model: first described by Uri Bronfenbrenner, this model explains the impact of multiple levels of social systems on individual development and behavior; these social systems and institutions interact and include micro, meso, exo, and macro system elements.

stake in conformity: individuals vary in terms of the number and strength of social bonds formed within conventional society; presumably, the greater the cumulative bond strength, the greater the motivation to conform to conventional norms.

stress and coping theory: theory indicating that life demands create stress to which individuals respond based on the skills that they have for responding to the demands (coping); substance use is one possible coping mechanism although it may ultimately compound stress through increased demands.



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