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PSY FPX 7230 Assessment 1 Constructing a Personal Theoretical Framework


Capella University

PSY FPX 7230 Adolescent Psychology

Prof. Name



Throughout my career, I have had the privilege of working extensively with children aged 3 to 17, serving in roles ranging from a Head Start teacher to a case manager for unaccompanied minors. This broad spectrum of experience has provided me with profound insights into the behavioral patterns of children, from early childhood through the challenging transition into adolescence. In this paper, I will examine Bronfenbrenner’s theoretical framework and its application to both my personal and professional experiences. Additionally, I will explore the pressures and background factors adolescents face during this critical period, while also assessing the strengths and weaknesses of Bronfenbrenner’s theory in relation to adolescence.

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory

Bronfenbrenner’s ecological theory posits that the developmental environment consists of multiple interacting systems and subsystems that collectively shape the growth of adolescents (Lau & Ng, 2014). These subsystems include the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. The microsystem focuses on an individual’s immediate experiences (Lau & Ng, 2014), emphasizing the significance of environments that hold personal meaning. The mesosystem highlights interactions between different aspects of an individual’s microsystem, illustrating that development is not solely influenced by the immediate family environment. The exosystem involves connections and processes between settings that indirectly impact the individual’s immediate environment (Shelton, 2018). The macrosystem encompasses broader societal or cultural influences (Shelton, 2018). Finally, the chronosystem addresses how transitions or changes in a child’s environment, such as migration, can significantly affect development.

Bronfenbrenner’s Theory and Background Factors

Ecosystems and mesosystems are crucial in shaping individual experiences, particularly concerning prevalent issues like bullying and peer victimization. The World Health Organization (2002) defines bullying as an act that poses significant harm to individuals and adversely affects the school environment (Andreou, 2001). Similarly, peer victimization, characterized by deviations from social norms, exerts psychological effects on both bullies and victims (Andreou, 2001). Supportive environments can mitigate these negative impacts, fostering adolescents’ self-assurance and sense of self-worth (Wentzel et al., 2016). Moreover, contemporary challenges such as cyberbullying and suicide further exacerbate the pressures adolescents face.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory provides valuable insights into the multifaceted influences on adolescent development, including cultural, societal, and familial factors. However, it overlooks certain aspects, such as the role of information technology and evolving family structures. Additionally, its focus on environmental influences tends to overshadow considerations of innate factors and mental states, necessitating complementary psychological assessments.

PSY FPX 7230 Assessment 1 Constructing a Personal Theoretical Framework


Bronfenbrenner’s theory offers a robust framework for understanding the complex interplay of factors influencing adolescent development. Nonetheless, it is essential for psychologists to recognize its limitations and supplement it with additional approaches. Ultimately, supporting adolescents through effective communication, education, and coping strategies is crucial in navigating the challenges of this critical stage of life.


Andreou, E. (2001). Bully/Victim Problems and their Association with Coping Behaviour in Conflictual Peer Interactions Among School-age Children. Educational Psychology, 21(1), 59-66. doi:10.1080/01443410125042

Eriksson, M., Ghazinour, M., & Hammarstrom, A. (2018). Different Uses Of Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory In Public Mental Health Research: What Is Their Value For Guiding Public Mental Health Policy And Practice? Social Theory & Health, 16, 414-433.

Hong, J. S., & Espelage, D. L. (2012). A review of research on bullying and peer victimization in school: An ecological system analysis. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 17(4), 311–322.

Lau, J., & Ng, K. (2014). Conceptualizing the Counseling Training Environment Using Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Theory. International Journal for Advancement of Counseling, 36(4), 423-439.

Onwughalu, O. J. (2011). Parents’ involvement in education: The experience of an African immigrant community in Chicago (pp. 51–56). iUniverse Inc.

Vélez-Agosto, N. M., Soto-Crespo, J. G., Vizcarrondo-Oppenheimer, M., Vega-Molina, S., & García Coll, C. (2017). Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Theory Revision: Moving culture from the macro into the micro. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 12(5), 900–910.

PSY FPX 7230 Assessment 1 Constructing a Personal Theoretical Framework

Wentzel, K. R., Russell, S., & Baker, S. (2016). Emotional support and expectations from parents, teachers, and peers predict adolescent competence at school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(2), 242–255.

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