This theory offers a rich framework that synthesizes ideas from numerous behavioral and social work practice theories (Greene & Ephross, 1991, pp. 261-263).
Assessment from the ecological systems theory perspective requires knowledge of the diverse systems involved in interactions between individuals and their environments. Included are subsystems of the individual (biophysical, cognitive, emotional, behavioral, motivational), interpersonal systems (parent-child, marital, family, kin, friends, neighbors, cultural reference groups, social networks), organizations and institutions within the community, and the physical environment (housing, neighborhoods, buildings, water, weather) (Hepworth & Larsen, 1990, pp. 16-17).
Advantages of the ecological theory is that it is broad in scope and includes typical human problems that involve health care, family relations, inadequate income, mental health difficulties, law conflicts, unemployment, and educational difficulties. Application of the theory includes an assessment of the sources of problems and the determination of the focus of intervention. Next the practitioner surveys the spectrum of available practice theories and interventions to determine what is to be done. Interventions must be directed to all systems tha