Loyola University Chicago

School of Social Work

SOWK 500:

Human Behavior in the Social Environment I

This course studies the life cycle of the individual from in utero through old age and death from a bio-psycho-social-spiritual perspective, via multiple theoretical frameworks. Individual growth and development is studied in the context of culture, race, ethnicity, social class, gender, families and other social systems. Attention is also given to the impact of trauma, loss, and environmental stressors on the individual and the family.

This foundation course considers human behavior and the social environment in order to provide students with a basis from which to understand behavior and development over the course of the life span. A variety of theories are utilized to assist students in understanding the complexity of human behavior, including psychodynamic, psychosocial, family systems, cognitive, and neurobiological theories, among others.

Course content is sensitive to human diversity, specifically including materials on race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, physical challenges, spirituality, and socioeconomic factors as they affect human behavior and life span development. Students are required to utilize this material as a background for assessing strengths, limitations, risk, resilience and protective factors that affect clients’ social functioning. The course aims to examine human behavior in the social environment with attention to structural factors (e.g., poverty, racism, etc.) that contribute to and challenge the success in human development.