SW405 Human Behavior & Social Envir.II

for SP 2008

Printer Friendly

Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


SW 405 Human Behavior & Social Envir.II


SP 2008 HO


Bachman, Gary E.


Assistant Professor



Office Location


Office Hours

M,T,F: 8:45 – 11:30

Daytime Phone

816 584-6504



Semester Dates

January 14 – May 2, 2007

Class Days


Class Time

7:20 - 8:35 AM


SW305, Conditional or Full Admission to Social Work Major

Credit Hours



Contemporary Human Behavior Theory Second Edition 

Robbins,S.P., Chatterjee,P.& Canda, E.R. 2006   Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN 0-205-40816-0

Additional Resources:

Understanding Human Behavior 6th Edition

Zastrow, C.H., &Kirst-Ashman, K.K. 2004 Brooks/Cole     ISBN 0-534-60831-0

             *Several copies of this recommended text will be on reserve in the library

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
Career Counseling - The Career Development Center (CDC) provides services for all stages of career development.  The mission of the CDC is to provide the career planning tools to ensure a lifetime of career success.
Park Helpdesk - If you have forgotten your OPEN ID or Password, or need assistance with your PirateMail account, please email helpdesk@park.edu or call 800-927-3024
Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information http://www.park.edu/Current/.

Course Description:

This is the second sequential course which examines the interplay of biological, psychological, social and cultural factors which influence human behavior and human development through the life cycle. Through this course, we will consider behavior in the context of families, groups, organizations, and communities, and examine the impact of social and economic stressors upon development and behavior. The course is designed to contribute to a foundation of generalist social work knowledge from an ecological perspective, and the through the understanding of bio-psycho-social influences upon contemporary world circumstances.


Educational Philosophy:

Social work as a profession emerged in response to the many challenges, inequalities and threats to societies and the world’s most vulnerable populations. The demographic of those populations is constantly evolving, as is the nature of challenges that increasingly confront us all. 

It is vitally important that social work professionals be prepared to efficiently and critically consider human behavior and the social environment in order to identify, strategize, and communicate an appropriate response to the matters before them. This is as true in business, science, education and government service as it is in social work. 

It is the intent of the faculty in the Department of Social Work to facilitate learners in the acquisition of such knowledge as will serve them, their families and their communities, throughout their lives. Through the semester, world and local events will occur which may influence our academic, personal, or professional pursuits. In light of such circumstances, the instructor reserves the right to amend the schedule of study. 

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Discuss interactions among the biological, social, psychological, and culturally diverse systems throughout the life cycle.
  2. Understand and appropriately apply theories of human development and behavior relevant from mid-adult life through the end of life.
  3. Recognize and interpret contributions of research to the current and evolving knowledge of human behavior in the social environment.
  4. Recognize and describe the dynamics and impact of human oppression, discrimination and social and economic injustice on, and transmitted through, organizations, communities, social institutions, society and the world at large.
  5. Demonstrate an understanding of the influence of personal, professional values and ethics on professional practice and the potential of value conflicts.

Core Assessment:
  • Exams (LO 1-5)
  • Term Paper (LO 1-5)
  • Reflection Paper (LO 1-5)
  • Spirituality Paper (LO 1,3-5)
  • Group Presentation (LO 1,5)
  • Web Research Paper (LO 3)
  • Core Assessment: Portfolio Assignment (LO 4,5)

Class Assessment:


Assignment #1   My Behavior / My Environment: A Reflective Basis for Examining Human Behavior.                Due:   Tuesday 1/24/08   (not to exceed 5 pages)         -10%-                                                                               

Who Are You? What factors (biology, psychology, social, & spiritual) have and continue to influence your “world view?” Have these changed over time? Why? What events and circumstances have shaped you into the person you are today?

o        What sources of information have been the most influential in the development of your beliefs/attitudes?Oftentimes, our beliefs and attitudes develop subtly and over time, without us being aware that this is occurring. We even have beliefs and attitudes about things we may never have encountered personally in our lives. So, what influences helped you develop your beliefs and attitudes? A person? Organization? An event? Most of us can identify a variety of influences if we think about it. Select and clearly describe (at least three) key influences.

o        Analyze and describe how these factors influenced the way you currently view the world.

o        Are there significant influences in your life that you have chosen to reject or sought to change?  Are there any significant influences currently challenging you. (Besides this assignment and being to class at 7:20 AM?)

o        What role has your “biology” played in determining who you are? What of your behavior do you think is innately you

o        Are there places where you as an individual and you as a social worker collide? How do you resolve these conflicts.

o        Consider and describe your personal theory about social behavior and the ability of individuals to affect change upon society?

*You may also want to refer to the “Bio-Psycho-Social Assessment Handout” reference handout available on the course companion web-site.


Assignment # 2   Observation and reflection of a life span segment.      (due Feb 21) -10%-

a)      Choose a segment of the life span from pregnancy to adolescence that interests you but about which you have had limited or no prolonged experience. (other than your time spent as a member of that group…)

o        pregnancy (anytime during the 9 months),

o        toddler years (18months through about 3 years),

o        early childhood (4 years through about 6 years),

o        middle childhood (7 years through about 12 years),

o        adolescence (13 years through about 18 years),

o        middle adulthood (35 years through about 64 years),

o        older adulthood (65 years and older).

b)      Create an opportunity to observe and interact with a group of people who are in the age phase you select. (We will discuss appropriate opportunities in class.) Arrange to spend a minimum of 1 hour observing and as may be necessary, interacting with and this group. (In research methods we call this participant observation). 

c)      Compose a paper, no longer than 4 pages, in which you:

o        Describe the group you observed and interacted with in terms of: age(s), ethnicities, sexual orientations, social classes, gender, and other factors you may identify.

o        Describe your experience of being with this group and one new thing you learned about people of this group.    And one thing you learned about yourself.

o        Describe your impressions of this age group in terms of what they do and say and how they express themselves and how they interact within the group and with others outside of the group.

o        Identify and describe one likely social work role or function (employment opportunity) related to this particular group

Assignment # 3 (no longer than 4 pages)                                          Due: Feb. 28 -10%-

Exploring the professional literature on human development.

Locate four (4) scholarly articles from professional sources that discuss the life span segment you chose for assignment one. If you have trouble locating professional journals see the reference librarian for assistance

  • One of the articles should discuss the biological issues related to the age group you chose in assignment one.
  • One of the article should discuss cognitive issues related to the age group you chose in assignment one.  
  • One of the articles should discuss psychological or emotional issues related to the age group you chose.


Assignment # 4 (no longer than 2 pages)                                                Due: March 6*

Integrating observations, experiences, and the professional literature: Based on your observations and interactions from assignment one and your readings from assignment two, describe what you feel are five of the most significant social issues impacting the age group you chose. Describe at least one example of how you see that the social work profession may better respond to or serve this particular population. (This assignment may be submitted electronically.)

Assignment # 5      :   Bio-Psycho-Social Assessment                Due: April 3  -25%-               

(Not to exceed 10 pages.)

Through this assignment you are to identify, examine, and describe the range and variety of circumstances that have influenced a particular individual’s growth, development, perspective, and behavior. Negative influences are often the easiest to identify. You are strongly advised to look for and describe examples of strength and resilience as well. In addition to using information provided in class and assigned readings, it is expected that additional professional peer-reviewed resources (at least five) will be referenced in completing this assignment.

OPTION #1 Watch one of the following movies--“Pursuit of Happiness,” ”“Boys Don’t Cry,” “One Flew Over the Coo Coo’s Nest,” “Tsotsi,” “Billy Elliott,” “Monster,” or “Whale Rider,” “Antwone Fisher,” “Courage Under Fire,” or “The Hurricane.”*If you would like to use an other movie, please confirm that with the instructor first.

OPTION #2 Select an individual from you field setting, one with whom you have been working and who you feel that you know well.

Use the following format:

A.     Introduction--Describe the character or individual you will focus on.

B.     What is the “presenting problem?” or key issue that the individual is confronting.

C.     Describe the individual’s significant bio-psycho-social-spiritual influences and situation; complete an assessment in each of the individual’s life domains. (bio-psycho-social –spiritual)  Identify personal strengths as well as personal challenges.

D.     Select one of the prime theories discussed in class and appropriate to the circumstances to analyze the character's social interaction (a). Be specific about the concepts in the theory that are being used for the analysis. Site your sources.

E.      What are the implications of this analysis that might have been useful for developing an intervention strategy? What other theories are needed in order to fully understand this individuals circumstances?

Assignment # 6     The Bio-Psycho-Social examination of a DSM Diagnosis.              Due: May 1  (not to exceed 10 pages) -20%-

Social workers in many agencies are expected to be familiar with the DSM. To some extent then, we must be familiar with the medical model in conceptualizing problem behaviors, cognitions, and moods. Widely argued to be inconsistent with the values of our profession, this assignment provides you with an opportunity to explore alternative ways by which human “problems” may be conceptualized and addressed

The intent of this assignment is to help you focus your attention the range of biological, psychological, social, and perhaps spiritual risk, as well as protective factors relative to a specific DSM diagnosis. You may wish to examine factors that pertain to the onset of the “disorder,” its course, or both. (You will also facilitate a 10-15 minute review of the behavior al “diagnosis” you select, in class, sometime between April 8th & 29th.)

1. Introduction: From the DSM IV, choose one, Axis 1 or 2 emotional, mental, or behavioral disorder in which you are interested. Briefly state the reason for your selection. Present at least two examples as to how a social worker might come to work with an individual with the particular diagnosis. (20% of the grade)

2.      A Bio-Psycho-Social Perspective: Examine and describe how each of the bio psycho-social (and perhaps spiritual) spheres may be exaggerated or compromised by the behavior. Is one aspect of the (BPS) framework more commonly associated with this diagnosis than others? (30%)

·        Describe how the manifestation of the behavior may be affected by such factors as one’s gender, race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, employment / employability, family composition, sexual orientation, or disability.

·        Describe an administrative, cultural, social policy, or political reasons that the diagnosis is considered to be a "disorder" in our society at this time.

3. Risk and Protective Factors: Review the recent literature (published no earlier than 2000) for examples of risk and protective factors associated with the etiology and course of the diagnosis.

  • Seek and describe at least two examples that demonstrate and respect self-determination or are drawn from a strengths perspective.
  • Describe at least one typical, common, or “recommended treatment” of individuals with the particular diagnosis that may contrary to core social work values.

4.      Summary: Briefly, how does the larger society perceives the diagnosis? Formulate and describe “a social work perspective” for understanding the behavior reflected in the diagnosis. From your perspective, describe a unique approach that social work might bring to addressing specific difficulties related to the diagnosis.


Grading:    A= 90-100    B= 80-89    C= 70-79    D= 60-69    F= 59-0

Every effort will be made to be fair and reasonable in grading your work and participation. A “C” grade in this course is the minimum grade required for graduation with the BSW degree. If you have questions or concerns about this, please speak to the instructor in a timely manner. This course is part of a professional sequence, leading to a professional degree. You are expected to behave professionally. That includes being prepared for, attending and contributing in class on a consistent basis. You are expected to present work that is legible and well considered. Assessment in this course relies heavily upon the evaluation of your written material. You are encouraged to rely upon the “Guidelines for Writing Papers “noted below.

Assignments # 1,2,3,4, and the video final are valued at 10% each. The midterm exercise is 5%.

Assignment # 5 is valued at 25%. And assignment # 6 is 20%.

Late Submission of Course Materials:
  Assignments are due at the beginning of the class on the date indicated. In the event of an absence, assignments may be submitted to the instructor electronically. The student remains responsible for lost, misdirected or incompatible formatting of electronic submissions. In extenuating circumstances (as determined by the instructor) and with timely notification an exception may or may not be granted. Assignments not submitted on time will receive a deduction of 10% of the possible score per day. If you have a question about any assignment or expectation in this course, please contact the instructor in a timely manner. Please be aware that there is no extra credit work in this course.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
  Classroom Rules of Conduct: In order to maintain a positive learning environment the following ground rules will be followed:

1.       Personal perspectives will be valued. Degrading or discriminatory remarks or behaviors are not acceptable.

2.       Discussion will reflect an exchange of information, experiences, ideas, and opinions that have an educational value.

3.       If you work in groups, it is the responsibility of the group members to delegate work. All members of a group must present on the project and all will receive the same grade.

4.       Because of our sensitive subject matter, courtesy needs to be maintained in the classroom at all times. Students need to arrive on time. Students will not hold private conversations when another person is speaking. Students will speak one at a time.

5.      If student’s behavior in the classroom is disruptive, the instructor will allow the student an opportunity to correct the behavior without consequences. If the student’s behavior continues to be disruptive, that student may be asked to leave the classroom and will be referred to the Office of Academic Affairs.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:




               Topic and Readings

Part 1:

Reflection & Collection


Jan. 15

Jan. 17


Review of Human Behavior Theory

Introduction to “bio-psycho-social-spiritual” assessment



Jan. 22

Jan. 24

Discussion of “bio-psycho-social-spiritual” assessment continues.

   1/24 Assignment #1 Due


Part 2:

Systemic and Critical Perspectives


Jan. 29

Jan. 31


Human Behavior as a matter of typical life span

and developmental milestones. Issues of infancy & childhood



Feb. 05

Feb. 07

“life span and developmental milestones” (continued)

Adolescence, the transition to independence


Feb. 12

Feb. 14

“life span and developmental milestones” (continued)

 marriage and family life, employment and adult role identity


Feb. 19

Feb. 21

“life span and developmental milestones” (continued)

empty nesting, aging, retirement, common health issues, loss, & death

Assignment #2 Due 2/21


Feb. 27

Feb. 28

“The curves life throws us” Human Behavior in the face of unique stress.  Assignment #3 Due 2/28


Mar. 04

Mar. 06

“The curves life throws us”   (continued)

Assignment #4 Due 3/06 (No class today, assignments are to be submitted electronically.)

SPRING BREAK March 10-14


Mar. 18

Mar. 20


Video - Mid-Term

A return to “bio-psycho-social-spiritual” assessment.

The application of human behavior theory in BPSS assessment.


Mar. 25

Mar. 27

Assessment & Theory applied (The BSW “world view.”)


Apr. 01

Apr. 03

Assessment & Theory applied. “curves and bumps ahead”

Assignment #5 Due 4/03


Apr. 8

Apr. 10

Student presentations begin today and continue daily through the 29th.”

Assessment & Theory applied.    “rough road”


Part 3 Practice Integration – yet another “world view”


Apr. 15

 Apr. 17

Assessment of Human Behavior:

The Medical Model and the DSM


Apr. 22

   Apr. 24

Presentations continue:

Pulling it all together.


Apr. 29

May 01

Presentations continue:

Last Day of Class Assignment #6 Due May 1

Final Exam

Tuesday May 8th : video final at 9AM.

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-86
Academic Honesty:  “Academic Honesty is required of all members of a learning community.  Hence, Park University will not tolerate cheating or plagiarism on tests, examinations, papers or other course assignments.  Students who engage in such dishonesty may be given failing grades or expelled from the University.”  Your completion of each assignment is expected to be an original work.  References to the works of others are expected but must be appropriately acknowledged.

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85
Plagiarism: “…the appropriation or imitation of the language or ideas of another person and presenting them as one's original work—sometimes occurs through carelessness or ignorance.  Students who are uncertain about proper documentation of sources should consult their instructors.”

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  3. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  4. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "F".
  5. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  6. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  7. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2007-2008 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-88
“Instructors are required to keep attendance records and report absences.  The instructor may excuse absences for cogent reasons, but missed work must be made up within the term of enrollment.  Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.  In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/ term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of “WH.”  A Contract for Incomplete will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.  Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance (TA) or Veterans Administration (VA) educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.  Reports of an F grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for students receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: http://www.park.edu/disability .


This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:1/14/2008 4:38:59 PM