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Human Behavior for Social Work Practice

A Developmental-Ecological Framework

Third Edition

Wendy L. Haight, Edward H. Taylor, and Ruth Soffer-Elnekave

Publication Date - May 2020

ISBN: 9780190937737

496 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock


Featuring an interdisciplinary, developmental, ecological-systems framework, Human Behavior for Social Work Practice, Third Edition helps students implement a consistent system through which to approach multifaceted social issues in any environment. Students will learn that by effectively connecting theory to practice, they can develop successful strategies to use as they encounter complex issues currently facing social workers, whether it be in inner city schools or rural nursing homes with individuals of different ages, ethnicities, and socioeconomic status.

This text examines social work issues at various points in human development using specific programs and policies to illustrate developmentally- and culturally-sensitive social work practice. Excerpts from interviews with practicing social workers highlight real-life experiences and introduce a variety of policy contexts. Part 3 of the text focuses on social work issues affecting individuals across the lifespan and around the globe through chapters on disability and stigmatization; race, racism and resistance; women and gender; and terrorism.

New to this Edition

  • New Chapter 15: Terrorism and Mass Murder
  • New coauthor, James Black, substantially expands Chapter 3: The Brain
  • New content on indigenous social work supports students' greater cultural sensitivity
  • New coauthor, Ruth Soffer-Enclave, who has worked and studied in Israel strengthens the book's international perspective


  • Interviews with practicing social workers help students to understand, integrate and connect abstract concepts to their actual practice
  • International focus illustrates how human development is shaped within sociocultural-historical contexts and prepares social work students for practice in an increasingly global and diverse field.
  • Presents social work issues and practices affecting individual across the lifespan and at particular points in development to prepares students for developmentally- sensitive practice

About the Author(s)

Wendy Haight, PhD, is Professor and Gamble-Skogmo Chair in Child Welfare and Youth Policy at University of Minnesota.

Edward H. Taylor, PhD, is an associate professor, mental health clinician and researcher at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBC), and currently the Associate Dean for the Faculty of Health and Social Development at UBC. Additionally, Dr. Taylor serves as the Co-Director of the UBC Interprofessional Mental Health Clinic.

Ruth Soffer-Elnekave is a PhD student in the University of Minnesota and works as a research assistant in the Gamble-Skogmo land grant in Child Welfare and Youth Policy.


"Drs. Haight, Taylor, and Soffer-Elnekave seamlessly integrate research and theory as the underpinnings for policy and practice decisions in a way that will enable students to better understand the complexity of human development within various contexts." - Sarah Dow-Fleisner, University of British Columbia

Table of Contents

    Preface to the Third Edition

    1. Introduction
    The Historical Context of Social Work in the United States
    Developmental, Ecological-Systems Analysis of Social Work Issues
    Using This Text
    Organization of the Text

    2. The Developmental, Ecological-Systems Framework in Social Work
    Some Basic Principles of Contemporary Developmental Science
    Biological Subsystems of Human Development
    Psychological and Social Psychological Theories
    Life-Span Developmental Theories
    Social Work's Developmental, Ecological-Systems Framework
    Summary and Discussion

    3. The Brain: A Developmental Ecological Perspective
    with James Black, MD, PhD
    Developmental Systems Theory
    Historical Overview: The Brain and Mental Illness
    Outline of Human Brain Anatomy
    The Cerebral Cortex in Brief
    Brain Development
    Brain Plasticity
    Studying the Brain

    4. Using Social Science Evidence to Understand Human Development and Enhance Social Work Practice
    The Role of Research in Contemporary Social Work
    The Diversity of Perspectives on Contemporary Social Work Research
    The Multiple Roles of Empirical Evidence in Social Work
    Elements of Social Science Research
    Ethics in Social Science Research
    A Mixed-Method Research Program Investigating
    Rural, Drug-Involved Families

    5. Social Work with Infants: Preventive Interventions to Support Attachment Relationships in the Family
    Preventive Interventions
    Highlights of Development during Infancy
    Development and Organization of Attachment Relationships
    Implications for Preventive Interventions

    6. Social Work with Young Children: Expanding Relationships and Developmental Contexts
    Child Welfare with Young Children
    Highlights of Development during Early Childhood
    Supporting the Relationships of Young Children Involved in Child Welfare
    Implications for Supporting Young Children's Development during Foster-Care Placement

    7. Social Work with Children in Middle Childhood: Spiritual Development in the Community
    Highlights of Development during Middle Childhood
    Developmental, Ecological-Systems Analysis of Spiritual Development in Middle Childhood
    A Case of Spiritual Development in an African-American Community
    Implications for Social Work with School-Age Children and Their Families

    8. Social Work with Adolescents: Mentoring in Schools
    School Social Work with Adolescents
    Highlights of Development during Adolescence
    The Development of Mentoring Relationships.
    Implications for School Social Work with Adolescents

    9. Social Work with Young Adults: Professional Development and Multicultural Education in Schools of Social Work
    Social Work Education with Young Adults
    Some Theories of Development across the Life Span
    Highlights of Development in Early Adulthood
    Facilitating the Professional Development of Social Work Students
    Variations in Practice Contexts
    Implications for Social Work Education
    Implications for Multicultural Social Work Education

    10. Social Work with Midlife Adults in Mental Health Contexts: Understanding and Treating Depression
    Mental Health Care with Midlife Adults
    Highlights of Development in Middle Adulthood
    Developmental, Ecological-Systems Analysis of Depression in Middle Adulthood
    Implications for Social Work

    11. Health Social Work with Older Adults: Dementia
    Health Social Work with Older Adults
    Overview of Development in Later Adulthood
    Dementia: Developmental, Ecological-Systems Analysis

    12. Disability and Stigmatization in International and Developmental Perspective with Misa Kayama, MSW, PhD
    A Developmental, Ecological-Systems Perspective on "Disability"
    Disability and International Social Work
    Children with Mild Cognitive and Behavioral Disabilities in Japan and the US
    Attention to Within-Culture Variations in International Social Work: Examples from Adults with Physical Disabilities in India
    Addressing Some Challenges of International Social Work

    13. Race, Racism, and Resistance across the Life Span
    with Jane Marshall, PhD
    "Race" as a Socially Constructed Concept
    Racism, White Privilege, and Institutional Racism
    Racial Identity Development
    Responses to Oppression

    14. Women and Gender across the Life Span and Around the Globe
    with Kathleen Reutter, CNM, WHNP, RN
    Gender Identity Development
    The Process of Gender Identity Development
    Some Gender-Sensitive Issues

    15. Terrorism and Mass Murder: Impacts across the Lifespan and Around the Globe
    What is Terrorism?
    Where does Terrorism occur?
    How do individuals become drawn into terrorism?
    What is Mass Murder?
    How Can We Understand School Shootings?
    Terrorism, And Mass Killings Affect Development across The Life Span
    How to Respond to Threats

    16. Some Final Reflections
    A Developmental, Ecological-Systems Framework Guides Problem Solving in Social Work
    Modern Social Work Is Evidence Based
    Social Work Issues Affect Multiple Interacting Systems
    Social Work Issues Affect Individuals across the Life Span
    A Global Perspective is Necessary to Social Work in the Twenty-First Century