Psychosocial Theory and Role Theory

Psychosocial Theory and Role Theory

Social work takes a holistic view to social problems, arguing that they are complex and multilayered, often contributed to by a number of individual, psychological, and social processes. Consequently, psychosocial theory is a theoretical lens that has been employed in social work to apply to an array of problems and populations. It also emphasizes respecting diversity factors and the strengths that individuals, families, and communities bring to the change process.

When attempting to understand the presenting problems of individuals, families, and/or organizations, it is also important to take into account the social roles they take on. As the name implies, role theoryas a theoretical lens focuses on the roles assumed by individuals. The theory maintains that people’s behaviors are influenced by their role and the inherent expectations, norms, and power that underlie those social roles.

This week, you will put on two new theoretical lenses—psychosocial theory and role theory. You will examine how problems are conceptualized through the world of psychological and social processes as well as social roles.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Analyze unique psychosocial factors that are distinct to diverse population groups
  • Apply psychosocial theory and role theory to a social work case study
  • Evaluate the strengths and limitations of psychosocial theory and role theory

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