Influences of Environment on Behavior and the Family System

Influences of Environment on Behavior and the Family System

Our environment highly influences the behavior of an individual as well as the family system (Oliveira et al, 2015). From the provided ecomap, it is evident that Sandra Lombardino’s life decisions are highly influenced by the surrounding environment. So far, one can argue that her history portrays both positive and negative environmental influences witnessed in many adults life aged between 40 and 60 yrs of age. She cares about her husband deeply and she is also committed to her family. She also has a good social connection with students and teachers, which helps her approach life with a positive attitude. However, there are issues that are stressing her life, weakening her health status even when she tries to remain positive about life. For instance, although her relationship with her husband is strong, it is also stressful for her because he has a drinking habit that is affecting his health status. These issues are making her think of divorcing her husband, even when she is committed to her family and truly cares for her husband.

Looking at the Sandra’s life and analyzing it through Erik Eriksons psychosocial theory, it might be easy to conclude that she is not satisfied with her life, but this may not necessarily be the case. According to Parkey, Antcil & Hass (2014), Erikson was of the perception that ego develops as one successfully manages to resolve crises which are distinctly social in nature. This includes developing a sense of identity as well as establishing a sense of trust in the society. It also involves helping the young generation prepare for the future. The Ego Integrity vs. Despair, the 8th stage of Erik Erikson’s psychosocial theory, it is based on senior citizens (65+ yrs) where individuals tend to slow down in productivity and reflect on life as a retired person. Erickson argued that at this age an individual usually lookes back and contemplates on his/her achievements in life, and if one believes to have had led a successful life, he/she develops integrity. However, if at this age an individual feel’s that their life was unproductive, he/she develops despair out of dissatisfaction and it often leads to hopelessness and depression. Looking at Sandra’s eomap, although she may be thinking of divorce due to her husband’s drinking habit, which is also affecting her health; I believe that she has attained integrity. This is because she has contributed a lot to the society by committing to her family, caring for her husband and also establishing a very strong social connection with her students and teachers.

From this point view (my point of view), the only way a HSP can help in resolving this transition crisis with Sandra while conducting a life review is making her realize that she has done the best she could to lead a satisfying life (Ko, 2014). From her Ecomap, there are systems that seem to cause the most stress and negative influence on Sandra’s behavior and decision making. They are; her husbands’ drink habit leading to his poor state of health, the stressful relationship she has with her husband, and the fact that she cares for him too much. Using the stress theory in which psychologists view stress as “… the outcomes of the neurological and physiological responses in a variety of anxious situations” (Ko, 2014), it is only by avoiding environmental stressors involved that she can live a long stress-free life. In this case, a HSP may advise Sandra to seek professional help or even separate from her husband for a while or divorce him if hews was not going to quit drinking. A HSP could assure Sandra that it was the only way she could have a long life expectancy because her husband’s habits are affecting even her own health.

If I was working with Sandra and she provided consent, I believe that contacting her family and involving her adult children would have a positive impact to her family system. According to Oliveira et al (2015), one parent’s habits could affect the other one’s behavior, health status or both. In this case, it is evident that is what is happening in this situation because regardless of how Sandra cares for her husband and commits to him, she is contemplating divorcing him because it is affecting her health too. Bringing in Sandra’s adult children who are aware of the effects of stress on their elderly mother’s age might help the situation leading their father to realize why he ought to quit his drinking habits and concentrate on taking care of his wife. Additionally, if this was not an option and Sandra divorced their father, they would understand her reason and not hold any grudge towards her in the future. Understanding their mother’s divorce decision if it ever came to that and supporting her in it would be Sandra’s children biggest role in helping her cope with stress and trauma (Ko, 2014).

There are several human services agencies in the U.S that helps older adults deal with life situations. For instance, there is the Administration on Aging (AOA) that is the principle agency under the U.S Department of Health and Human Hervices that cares for the elderly. This agency has a National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP) that was initiated in 2000 with the aim of helping the elderly with grants to fund initiatives that assist them straight from their homes (Oliveira et al, 2015). This agency facilitates in helping the elderly cope with family and life issues reducing anxiety, caregiver depression and stress by providing them with caregivers to counsel them, keep them company and even help them with their chores right from their homes. These are some of the duties that are undertaken by human service professionals to help utilize in helping the elderly experiencing negative environments. There are other services that a human service professional could use to help a multigenerational family experiencing a negative environment. They include; setting up interventions, encouraging members to find ways to say engaged, encouraging health eating habits and exercises and also advising family members on knowing when to seek professional help.



Ko, H. (2014). COUNSELLING OLDER ADULTS: An Asian Perspective| Issues, Principles and an Evidence-based Model. Write Editions.

Oliveira, P. S., Fagundes, L. S., Barbosa, H. A., Santos, A. S., Lopes, M. C., & VilasBoas, F. S. (2015). Care of a fragile elderly by the family. Journal of Nursing UFPE on line [JNUOL/DOI: 10.5205/01012007/Impact factor: RIC: 0, 9220], 10(1), 273-283.

Parkay, F. W., Anctil, E. J., & Hass, G. (2014). Curriculum leadership: Readings for developing quality educational programs. Prentice Hall.