Social Psychological and Communication Models



A number of ideas which are well-used in social work originate from sociological and social psychological theories. Particularly important are concepts from role theory, the idea of labelling and the whole area of social psychological research into human interactions. Breakwell and Rowett (1982) propose a social psychological approach to social work which emphasises in particular material on social and personal change, how relationships are formed and managed by people in social situations and how issues of identity are related to matters such as stigma, group behaviour, the effects of environments, territory, and the need for personal space. The ideas of Kelly’s personal construct theory propose that people manage their behaviour according to ‘constructs’ in their mind about how to behave, which have been developed from past experience; we construct events differently from each other and looking at and changing people’s constructs may help to change behaviour. This approach may also be a useful way of understanding social interactions (Tully, 1976), and has relationships with phenomenological and existential ideas, considered in the next Chapter, which proclaim the variety of interpretations that are possible of the personal and social world.


Social Work Communication Theory Communication Model Role Conflict Operating Rule 
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Copyright information

© Malcolm Stuart Payne 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Didsbury, ManchesterUK

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