Psychology for Health and Social Care
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Psychology refers to studying the behavioural and psychological processes in health and illness. It comprises of the cultural, behavioural and psychological factors which make their contribution to the physical health and illness of a person (Brannon, Feist and Updegraff, 2013). Health of an individual is directly affected by psychological factors. In the field of health and psychological well being, psychology is concerned with exploring the biological, environmental, societal, biological and psychological factors of life and their effect on physical health (Braveman, Egerter and Williams, 2011). The present report is on psychology in health and social care. The report attempts to develop understanding about psychological factors that impact human behaviour. Further, impact of these factors on the users of heath and social care the basic approaches regarding human behaviour have been analysed in the report. Lastly, attempt has been made to understand the ways in which psychological theories are applied to health and social care practice.
The psychological theories can be related to different life stages in the following manner:
This perspective assumes that inner forces motivate the behaviour of a person. Behaviour also depends on the memories and conflicts. Major part of everyday behaviour of a person is governed by unconscious forces (McLeod, 2013). According to this perspective, it can be said that the conscious behaviour of a person in adolescence, early adulthood and late adulthood stages is inclusive of infantile wishes, desires and demands.
This perspective assumes that development can be understood on the basis of observable behaviour and environmental stimuli. According to behavioural perspective, nurture is more important. People are affected by the environmental stimuli (Moritsugu and et.al., 2013). As per this perspective, it can be analysed that human being learn and develop in response to environmental stimuli in the infant and childhood stages. An infant learns from observable behaviour and develops problem solving capabilities due to promotion of mental capacities.
Cognitive perspective focuses on the processes which are concerned with understanding and thinking about the world (Ogden, 2012). This perspective is concerned with the ways in which people internally represent themselves as well as the ways in which they think about the world (Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), 2015). This can be related to the life stages such as childhood and early adulthood. The methods in which children and adults process information are included in cognitive perspective.
Humanistic perspective is focused upon the qualities of humans. As per this theory, humans possess a natural capacity of making decisions about their life. Every individual has the ability to make free choices and take decisions for aspects concerning his life (Pierce, Lakey and Sarason, 2013). This can be related to the adolescence, early adulthood and late adulthood stage of life. During these stages, an individual makes various decisions which are related to different aspects of his life. Considering the humanistic perspective, it can be said that when a person passes through these life sages, he would have the ability to decide about important aspects of his life.
Social and biological factors influencing human behaviour can be explained. As per the case study provided, Sam, a new patient in the residential home suffers from degenerative disease, Alzheimer's. He has irritable behaviour and suffers from confusion, stress and suicidal tendency. The client's family is concerned about his well being and behaviour.
The following are social factors which influence human behaviour in the case study above:
Family and peer groups- Family is considered to be an important factor which has significant impact on the behaviour of a person. The behaviour of a person is guided by the type and quality of relationships he has with his family members and peers (Street, Gold and Manning, 2013). In the case study, Sam who was suffering from Alzheimer's was living alone. He was not surrounded by his family members. This would have deprived him of the affection and care that a person needs. Moreover, when a person has strong bond with the family, it gives him a sense of confidence thus making his behaviour controlled. As Sam did not live with his family, it influenced his behaviour which became uncontrolled and abusive. In contrast to this, had Sam lived with his family, it would have made his behaviour a bit more caring and affectionate. Better relationships with the family and friends would influence behaviour of Sam and would help him develop a positive attitude by reducing stress and confusion.
Culture- This is another factor which influences the behaviour of Sam. Culture is observed by a person in the form of values, attitudes and behaviours of people around (Thoits, 2011). Sam lives alone, therefore he is not accustomed to the gestures of respect and greetings that are adopted by people. Furthermore, his medical conditions aggravates the situations by making him confused and stressed. All these influence his behaviour and make him prone to suicidal tendency and verbally abusing other people.
Social exclusion- Social exclusion refers to remaining isolated from the activities of society. This factor negatively influences the behaviour of a person by making him experience greater amount of stress. In the case scenario, Sam lived alone. Moreover, his degenerative disease would have caused difficulties in mingling with the neighbours and other people in the society (Wills and Ainette, 2012). All these conditions would have made Sam lose trust on the society. It also leads to lowering of self esteem thus making the person behave in a negative manner.
The following are the biological factors which influence human behaviour in the case study:
Genetics- Genes are inherited by every person from his family. The behaviour of a person is influenced by his genetic make up (Wrzus and et.al., 2013). In the present case, Sam was suffering from Alzheimer's which is a degenerative disease. The alterations in the genes, which is associated with his medical conditions, have influenced Sam's behaviour. Alzheimer's disease is characterized by generalized degeneration of brain. It causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. This has influence on Sam's behaviour making him stressed and confused. It also made him verbally abuse other people and possess suicidal tendency.
The importance of social roles can be analysed in the context of health care. Social roles are defined as set of interconnected behaviours, obligations, rights, norms and beliefs. These are conceptualized by people in a social situation. Social roles consist of identity, conformity and development of self concepts (Kinman and Grant, 2011). The social role of manager is important in health and social care context as the management of treatment, care and support to be provided to the clients of residential home depends on him. It is only with effective role of manager that Sam's family could be assured of his health and well being.
Other social role in the context of health and social care can be that of the care worker. This is important for a person like Sam in the case study. Sam suffers from Alzheimer's and experiences stress, confusion and irritable behaviour. He has suicidal tendency and has been found verbally abusing his neighbours. Care worker is a person who will come in direct contact with Sam. His attitude, behaviour, care and support would directly influence Sam's behaviour. Caring and supportive behaviour may have positive impact on Sam and can lessen the stress and confusion that he suffers from. Therefore, this social role is important. Another social role can be taken up by the family of Sam. They can play the role of a guide, mentor and supporter (Burgess and et.al., 2007). Also, they can spend more time with Sam so that he does not feel excluded and lonely. This social role is important because family pays a major role in the improvement of condition of a patient. Moreover, Sam has been deprived of the love, care and support that a person needs from his family.
Psychological theories inform understanding of mental disorders in the following way. According to behaviour theory, stimuli in the external environment influence a person in a significant manner. It can be analysed that with the help of this theory understanding of possible causes of a particular type of behaviour can be understood (Deci and Ryan, 2008). This theory helps in learning that unfavourable and chaotic environment may result in behaviour disturbances in a person leading to mental disorders.
There is another theory known as evolutionary theory which informs understanding of mental disorders. According to this theory, mental disorders are genetically inherited. There fore, this theory helps in understanding that certain mental disorders are exhibited by people due to their genetic make-up. With the help of evolutionary theory, one can analyse and learn that genetic make-up of a person significantly contribute to mental disorder with which he is suffering (Giosan and et.al., 2014).
Application of psychological principles affecting behaviour change in health and social care setting can be evaluated. There are various psychological principles which can be applied in health and social care context. According to principle of socialization, every individual possesses a strong need for sense of belonging. It can be evaluated that this principle can be aptly applied to health and social care (Braveman, Egerter and Williams, 2011). This is because every patient desires to be cared and supported. Therefore, if the care workers talk face to face to the patients and make efforts to know their concerns and issues, this principle can cause behaviour change. Another principle is identity according to which every individual is in a need of sense of identity. It can be evaluated that this principle would helps care workers to fulfil the sense of identity of service users. However, this principle would not be effective in bringing behaviour change in the service users who suffer from metal disorders (Lowes and Hulatt, 2013).
The ways in which psychological theories can promote understanding of relationships can be analysed. Behaviour theory, for example, effectively explains about the behaviour exhibited by a person and reasons behind it. Therefore, from this theory it can be understood that which type of relationship would be beneficial for bringing behaviour change in a person (Street, Gold and Manning, 2013). Further, it can be used for understanding how state of relationships influence the behaviour of a person. Furthermore, cognitive theory helps in promoting understanding of relationships. This is because this theory provides assistance in gaining insight into knowledge and understanding of a person.
From the report it can be concluded that psychological theories such as behavioural, cognitive, humanistic and psycho-dynamic are related to different life stages in health and social care. There are various social and biological factor which influence human behaviour. These include social exclusion, family and peers, culture etc. Social roles are of vital importance in the context of health and social care. Psychological theories inform understanding of mental disorders. Moreover, these also enhance the understanding of relationships in health and social care.
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