Usc Sosw 503 Assignment 1 Systems and Ecological Theory

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Category: Parenting, Disability, Ecological Systems Theory

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SOWK 503 – Fall 2012 Assignment #1: Article Critique 9/26/12 Julie Emmer LCSW CAP Abstract The purpose of this paper is to critically critique and evaluate the study: Parenting a Child With a Disibility: The Role of Social Support for African American Parents, written by Jung – Hwa Ha, Jan S. Greenburg, & Marsha Mallick Seltzer. This paper will critically apply the Ecological Perspective and Systems Theory, to the social concern as it addressed in this study.
This paper will accomplish this critique by assessing the hypothesis, evaluating the method of study, and critically discussing the results of the study in question by using the key concepts of the fore mentioned theories. Upon the completion of this paper, the reader will have a full understanding of the study, and how it may relate to field of Social Work using a Systems Theory perspective.
Critique of: Parenting a Child With a Disability: The Role of Social Support for African American Parents Key Concepts of study The study Parenting a Child With a Disability: The Role of Social Support for African American Parents, was conducted as an expansion of the findings of previous studies. There have been a many studies that have examined the racial impact of the parents of disabled children; however, few have examined the influences that may affect an African American family raising a disabled child.

Therefore, the purpose of this study is to examine the following two areas of interest: (a) the impact of having a child with a disability on parents’ mental and physical health among urban-dwelling African Americans and (b) the extent to which positive and negative social interactions with family members other than the spouse moderate the impact of child’s disability on parental adaptation (Ha, Greenberg & Mailick Seltzer, 2010). The authors’ motivation for this study is to provide empirical evidence to assist professionals in addressing possible needs when, supplying social services to this population or environment of lients. Important facts and concerns related to the social concern. The authors of this study referenced several previous studies that supported their theory of; family support from other than a spouse will attribute to wellbeing and equal homeostasis of the parent. Previous studies “suggest that extended families constitute a core social network for African Americans and provide important financial and instrumental support (Ellison,1990). Furthermore, support from kin is related to happiness and life satisfaction among African Americans (Ellison, 1990).
In addition, it is also suggested in this study that negative entropy (interactions) or lack of supra system (extended family) involvement may impact the parent in a negative manner. The reasoning of the focus on African American parents, is to assess the influence of having a disable child, and how it may affect the negative energy that is already experienced in the family system by oppression and discrimination. This study was conducted in urban areas in Milwaukee county Wisc. as a continuance of the Midlife in the United States Study (MIDUS; Brim, Ryff, & Kessler, 2004).
The African American Milwaukee sample provided a unique opportunity to address within-racial group differences in the impact of having a child with a disability. (Ha, Greenberg & Mailick Seltzer, 2010). The sample group of the study was a group of 48 families with a disable child that is afflicted with one of the following disorders: autism, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, or intellectual disability, or was ever afflicted with a long-term serious mental health problem. The comparison group of 144 was families consisting of at least 1 child and no children in the family system have a disability. Theory Concepts
The systems approach attempts to view the world in terms of irreducibly and integrated systems. It focuses attention on the whole, as well as on the complex interrelationships among its constituent parts. The systems theory sees all of the aspects of a person and their environment as an individual system and an interrelated system. A social system is a special order of systems… composed of persons or groups of persons who interact and influence each other’s behavior. “Within this order can be included persons families, organizations, communities, societies, and cultures” (Robbins, Chatterjee & Canda, 2011).
The systems theory allows us to examine the focal system from a micro, meso, or macro perspective. Keeping all of the individual systems autonomous, while still being able to conceptualize the interrelatedness of the systems together. Similar to the systems theory, the ecological theory embraces many of the same concepts, but has narrowed the focus, so that it does not include such a broad view of the system. The Ecological theory is an adaptive, evolutionary view of human beings in constant exchange interchange with all elements of their environment (Germain & Gitterman, 1980, p. 5).
The idea that person and the environment are inseparable and must be considered jointly, is primary assumption of this theory. The person and his or her environment form a unitary system in which each is dependent on the other and directly shapes each other. Application of theory and key concepts The sample of population of this study was derived from a population in the urban areas of Milwaukee. Even though this study did not disclose evidence concerning the ecosystem and the environment of the subjects, it would be fair to assume that they are victims of coercive and exploitive power.
The reasoning for this assumption is the geographical location of this study, is known for having a high number of production plants and heavy pollution. The coercive power that is being afflicted is quantified in the study, with the fact, that the subjects do not reside in close proximity to any social services. This study was conducted to measure the affect of raising a child with a disability this environment. Further focus was placed on the effects of synergy from a supra system (family) on the focal system (parents), and the possible negative health effects derived from the lack of synergy.
The results of this study were divided into two sections. The first section was to assess the effects having a child with a disability (sub system) has on the focal system. The negative energy from a sub system with a disability did have a negative effect on the focal system’s physical health, and homeostasis. The negative impact on the homeostasis of the focal system was attributed to physical impairments of the subjects. However, this was seen only in the older population that was studied and may have been caused by the rise in physical activities that is needed to care for a child with special needs and aging.
This aspect supports the concept of adaptation of the focal system to achieve the goodness of fit in their habitat. The lack of mental health disorders in the focal system, may also indicate that entropy from resources in the environment or supra system, may cause the same amount of mental distress in the focal group as a whole. The second purpose of this study was to examine the effect of transactions between the supra system and the focal system. Specifically how the focal system’s homeostasis is affected by the exchange of positive, and negative energy, or entropy.
The results of this study partially supported the hypothesis that positive energy transactions between the focal, and supra system is a predictor of the homeostasis of the focal system. The positive and negative mental affect is less when a system has positive energy transactions with the supra system, and in turn, leads to a balanced homeostasis and goodness of fit. In turn, the systems with entropy or negative energy transactions from the supra system are more likely to have reduced coping measures, and a reduced goodness of fit. Emerging patterns.
Examination of this study from a systems perspective did yield an emerging pattern. I was able to access the importance, and interrelatedness of a system. This study provided empirical evidence that systems are interconnected. The transaction of energy from a sub or a supra system will affect the homeostasis of the focal system. This effect may be positive or negative, but none the less, it will affect the focal system. This study also provided evidence that a system will adapt to its environment to achieve a goodness of fit and equal homeostasis.
The systems theory was able to help me assess the interrelatedness of the study; however, it did also help me to recognize the limitations of study. One such limitation is narrow focus of the study. I believe for the study to be effective, the authors would have needed to address social concerns, coercive power, and exploitive power, which may be affecting the focal system as a whole. Compressive summery Upon completion of this study I did possess a new knowledge and enlightenment concerning the African American parents of disabled children.
This study demonstrated the negative effect on homeostasis and physical health, that is derived from negative energy transactions with the supra and sub systems. However, I am still left with questions concerning the effectiveness of this study. This study was performed in a nondiverse community on a very small sample size. Therefore, I believe that further study is needed, with the focus group living in diverse communities and being subjected to different environmental influences.
Furthermore, this target sample was limited to children with mental disabilities, and to effectively assess this subject, the sample must be expanded to include physical disabilities. This study was in an environment that may be oppressed and suffering from systematic discrimination. I was amazed to read that the persons with disabled children were not afflicted with more mental disorders than the persons without disabled children. This aspect raises concern about the environment of the sample group. This study stated that this population is isolated from resources, and has a high unemployment rate as well.
All of these factors will affect the wellbeing and homeostasis of a person. Therefore, I believe that further exploration is needed to assess the community stressors and influence on the overall wellbeing and homeostasis of the community. These influences should not be explored only for this study, but to also access need, and provide resources for this population. Resources Ha, J. , Greenberg, J. S. , & Mailick Seltzer, M. (2010). Parenting a child with a disability: The role of social support for african american parents. The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 92(4), 405-411.
Robbins, S. , Chatterjee, P. , & Canda, E. (2011). Contempory human behaivior thoery. (3rd ed. , p. 38). Sadddle River, NJ: Allyn & Bacon. Ellison, C. G. (1990). Family ties, Friendships, and Subjective Well-Being among Black Americans. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 52(2), 298–310. Germain,C. B. & Gitterman, A. (1980) The Life Model of Social Work Practice. New York: Columbia University Press. Green, R. (1999) Ecological Perspective an eclectic theoretical framework for social work practice (2nd ed. , p. 259-308). New York: Aldine DeGruyyer

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