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Principles of Community Psychology

Perspectives and Applications

Third Edition

Murray Levine, Douglas D. Perkins, and David V. Perkins

Publication Date - August 2004

ISBN: 9780195144178

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

The third edition of this pioneering work includes new contexts, research, and issues while improving overall clarity.


Updated and expanded in this third edition, Principles of Community Psychology: Perspectives and Applications presents the most recent literature, empirical work, issues, and events in the field and the relevant policy debates surrounding them.

The book maintains the basic architecture of the previous edition--integrating theory, research, and practice across the diverse subject matter of community mental health and community psychology--but reduces jargon and improves clarity. Applying an ecological perspective, it places problems in their current and historical contexts and employs a stress, coping, and social-support model as a key integrative device to analyze community mental health practice, prevention, self-help, and social action.

Principles of Community Psychology: Perspectives and Applications, 3/e, is ideal for upper level undergraduate and graduate courses in community psychology, social work, and mental health.

Features of the Third Edition

  • behavior-environment congruence
  • social and physical environmental influences on behavior and well-being
  • the use of law to reduce stigma
  • organizational change, development, and learning
  • problems in planned change on a statewide level
  • political and legal events since desegregation in public schools
  • future problems surrounding race in public schools
  • making community psychology more interdisciplinary
  • recognizing developments in community psychology outside the United States

  • homelessness
  • adaptation, crisis, coping, and social support

  • fundamental principles and values of community psychology
  • population parameters
  • the history of community psychology
  • HIV/AIDS, Project Head Start, and preventing child maltreatment
  • self-help/mutual assistance groups
  • desegregation of the public schools as a societal-level intervention
  • community development
  • science, ethics, and the future of community psychology

  • About the Author(s)

    Murray Levine is Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York.

    Douglas D. Perkins is Associate Professor of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University.

    David V. Perkins is Professor of Psychology at Ball State University.

    Previous Publication Date(s)

    September 1996


    "Prior to this edition, this book was unrivaled for its scope and depth of the obvious and not-so-obvious psychological implications of what American communities are: what problems they face, how they do and do not change.This edition makes clearer than previous editions that this is more than a book about the American community. It is about America."--from the foreword by Seymour B. Sarason

    Table of Contents

      All chapters end with a summary.
      Foreword by Seymour B. Sarason
      Introduction: An Overview of Community Psychology
      What Is Community Psychology?
      What Isn't Community Psychology?
      Principles of Community Psychology
      Organization of Chapters
      1. Life Is a Soap Opera
      The Incidence and Prevalence of Problems in Living
      Institutionalized Population
      Outpatient Mental Health Care
      Alcohol and Substance Abuse
      Crime and Victims of Crime
      Problems of Children and Adolescents
      Medical Problems and Chronic Illnesses
      Box 1-1: Psychosocial Adaptation to Health Problems: The Case of Genital Herpes
      Marriage and Parenting
      Economics and Employment
      Leisure-Time and Value Changes
      Aloneness in American Society
      The Availability of Professional Care
      Problems of the Medical Model
      2. The Origins of Community Psychology
      Origins of Mental Health Care in the Welfare System
      Community Mental Health
      Community Psychology Grows from Community Mental Health
      The Influence of Applied Social Psychology and the War on Poverty
      Current Issues in Community Mental Health
      Box 2-1: Homelessness
      Community Alternatives to Hospitalization
      Box 2-2: Assertive Community Supports
      Minorities and Other Undeserved Groups
      Children and Adolescents
      3. A Conceptual Road Map of Community Psychology
      The Dohrenwend Model
      Stressful Life Events
      Person and Environment
      Box 3-1: Poverty, Unemployment, and Social Problems
      Opportunities for Intervention Based on Dohrenwend's Model
      Crisis Intervention
      Intervention to Enhance Psychological Mediators
      Intervention to Enhance Situational Mediators
      Psychological Characteristics of the Person That Increase the Likelihood of a Stressful Life Event
      Situations That Increase the Risk of Stressful Events
      Preventing Stressful Life Events
      4. The Ecological Analogy
      Ecology as a Paradigm
      A Paradigm Shift
      Box 4-1: Community Research from an Ecological Perspective
      Implications for the Research Enterprise
      Principles of Ecology
      Cycling of Resources
      Adaptation; Niche
      Box 4-2: Behavior-Environment Congruence in Geel, Belgium
      Box 4-3: The Boom in Hong Kong's Elderly Home Industry
      Mental Health and the Law
      Law as a Factor in the Ecological Analogy
      Adapting to Legal Change
      Box 4-4: Unforeseen Consequences of a Change in Child Protection Laws
      Ecology and Values
      Ecology and Practice
      5. Five Psychological Conceptions of the Environment
      Social Environmental Influences on Behavior and Well-Being
      Perceived Social Climates
      Social Roles
      Social Capital: Community Cognitions, Behaviors, and Networks
      Physical Environmental Influences on Behavior and Well-Being
      The Socio-Physical Environment: Behavior Settings
      Box 5-1: The Fairweather Lodge
      Postscript: What Role Remains for Individual Differences?
      6. Labeling Theory: An Alternative to the Illness Model
      The Social Context for the Development of Labeling Theory
      Principles of Labeling Theory
      Primary and Secondary Deviance
      Cultural Stereotypes and Labeling
      When is Residual Rule-Breaking Labeled?
      Diagnosis and Labeling Theory
      Behavior is Assimilated to the Label
      The Use of Law to Reduce Stigma
      Some Cautions
      7. Adaptation, Crisis, Coping, and Support
      Box 7-1: Research on Stressful Life Events
      Vulnerability: An Integrative Perspective
      General Characteristics of Coping
      Box 7-2: Pollyanna and the Glad Game
      Stages in Crisis Situations
      Individual and Situational Differences in Coping
      Social Support
      Theory and Research Concerning Social Support
      Box 7-3: Coping and Support in the Context of Culture
      New Directions in Research on Social Support
      Box 7-4: Support Interventions for People with Disabilities
      8. Prevention
      Basic Concepts in Prevention
      Indicated (Secondary) Prevention
      The Primary Mental Health Project
      Box 8-1: Preventing Child Maltreatment: The Problem of False Positives
      Limitations of Indicated Prevention in Mental Health
      Universal and Selective (Primary) Prevention
      Competence Building
      Box 8-2: A Successful School Change Effort
      Prevention through Stepwise Risk Reduction
      Box 8-3: Head Start and Early Head Start: An Experiment in Selective Prevention
      Prevention of HIV/AIDS
      Schools as a Locus of Prevention
      Community-Based Health Promotion
      9. Self-Help Groups
      Growth of Self-Help Groups
      Contemporary Reasons for Growth
      Types of Self-Help Groups
      The Nature of Self-Help Groups
      Dynamics of Self-Help Groups
      Self-Help and the Model of a Family
      How Self-Help Groups Work
      Self-Help and Ecological Concepts
      Are Self-Help Groups Effective?
      AA and Recovery from Alcoholism
      A Controlled Experiment
      Starting Self-Help Groups
      Advocacy Groups
      10. The Problem of Change
      The Creation of New Settings
      Box 10-1: The Residential Youth Center (RYC)
      Change in Existing Settings
      Systems Theory
      First- and Second-Order Change
      Organizational Change, Development, and Learning
      Production and Satisfaction Goals
      The Social Context of Change
      Case Studies of Change in Existing Settings
      Changing a State Mental Hospital
      Court-Ordered Change in Caring for Persons with Mental Retardation
      Planned Change on a Statewide Level: The Texas Educational Miracle
      11. School Desegregation: A Societal-Level Intervention
      Slavery, Segregation, and the Constitution
      The NAACP and Its Litigation Strategy
      Social Science Theory and Integration
      Successful Desegregation of the Schools--A Case Study
      After Desegregation
      Future Problems
      12. Community Development and Social Action in Community Psychology
      The Politics of Problem Definition
      Blaming the Victim
      Paradox and Empowerment
      Competent Communities
      Community Development
      Social Action
      An Example of Social Action: The Love Canal Homeowners' Association
      Box 12-1: Center for Health, Environment, and Justice and the Environmental Justice Movement
      13. Science, Ethics, and the Future of Community Psychology
      Ecology and Science
      The Ethics of Community Intervention
      Interdisciplinary Community Psychology
      Box 13-1: Applying the Ecological-Psychopolitical Model to One Domain: The Physical Environment
      Community Psychology Around the Globe
      Names Index
      Subject Index