A System of Ecology
The human individual enters the world full of a potential for growth and development to maturity that depends upon the family into which it is born, the culture of the community and the conditions of the nation where it resides, and the genetic heritage it received from its parents. Each one of these dimensions is very complex in itself, but in combination with each of the other dimensions the complexity becomes almost overwhelming. Behavioral scientists have been working for years separating out some of the factors within each dimension to gain understanding about potential impact on development and health. Now they are tackling some of the difficult combinations between factors within one dimension, and among factors in different dimensions.
In this chapter we will look at three systems that have an impact on the developing individual : biological, psychological, societal, and some of the relationships among them that combine to constitute the dimensions of family, culture, and genetic heritage. Our objective is to establish the groundwork to gain greater understanding about human behavior. Ultimately we need to know enough about human behavior in order to tailor our treatment intervention to the needs and abilities of each individual patient.