This week we explore the social-ecological model and the Swearer and Hymel (2015) article does a nice job of describing this model as applied to the problem of bullying. In working on your social change project this week you will be applying the social-ecological model to the topic you are addressing for your social change portfolio/project. The levels addressed in the social-ecological model in this article include individual, family, peer group, school, and community. Because of this specific topic, school is an important dimension. However, this dimension may not apply to your specific social change project depending on the target population. Thus, if “school” does not apply then you can simply have individual, family, peer group, and community. “Peer group” for someone who is not in school would simply include environments such as work, friends, social networks, and so forth.

When writing this section, it is really easy to miss key points as you will be reviewing a lot of literature. It is best to organize your paper with subheadings such as:


In one-two paragraphs talk about protective factors.

In one-two paragraphs talk about risk factors.


In one-two paragraphs talk about protective factors

In one-two paragraphs talk about risk factors


It is also very easy to forget to cite references.  Remember to back up any idea that isn’t your own original idea with references.

Social-Ecological Model

This week you will apply the social-ecological model the problem you have identified to address in your community. Applying this model may be new for some of you. Indeed, for many people who are training to be therapists (e.g., clinical mental health counseling, clinical social work, marriage and family counseling, clinical psychology, etc.), the training often has more of a focus simply on the individual and the other levels according to the social-ecological model are often less heavily emphasized if at all. This systemic view can really help contextualize client and community challenges. The article by Swearer and Hymel (2015) in your course resources this week clearly demonstrates some important elements of the social-ecological model and of taking a systemic view of problems to be addressed. I look forward to reading how the model applies to the target problem in your community.

Continuum of Care

The continuum of care, posted below, is just a reminder to think about making your project and goal statement aligned with “Prevention”.

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Also, please consult with me via email if you are questioning whether or not your goal statement falls in the realm of prevention or not.


Swearer, S. M., & Hymel, S. (2015). Understanding the psychology of bullying: Moving toward a social-ecological diathesis–stress model. American Psychologist, 70(4), 344-353.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA): Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness: Retrieved from

Required Readings

Swearer, S. M., & Hymel, S. (2015). Understanding the psychology of bullying: Moving toward a social-ecological diathesis–stress model. American Psychologist, 70(4), 344-353.

American Mental Wellness Association: Risk and Protective Factors. Retrieved from:

Required Media

Walden Scholars of Change (2015). Healing our minds, bodies, and families. [Video]. Baltimore, MD: Producer.

Note: The approximate length of this media piece is 2 minutes.

Accessible player  –Downloads– Download Video w/CC Download Audio Download Transcript

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