This article needs additional citations for verification. Ecological systems theory, also called development in context or human ecology theory, identifies five environmental systems with which an individual interacts. The theory offers a framework through which community psychologists examine individuals’ relationships within communities and the wider society. Microsystem: Refers to the institutions and groups that most immediately and directly impact the child’s development ecological education of children through: family, school, religious institutions, neighborhood, and peers.
Exosystem: Involves links between a social setting in which the individual does not have an active role and the individual’s immediate context. For example, a parent’s or child’s experience at home may be influenced by the other parent’s experiences at work. The parent might receive a promotion that requires more travel, which might increase conflict with the other parent and change patterns of interaction with the child. Macrosystem: Describes the culture in which individuals live. Cultural contexts include developing and industrialized countries, socioeconomic status, poverty, and ethnicity. A child, his or her parent, his or her school, and his or her parent’s workplace are all part of a large cultural context.
Members of a cultural group share a common identity, heritage, and values. Chronosystem: The patterning of environmental events and transitions over the life course, as well as sociohistorical circumstances. For example, divorces are one transition. Researchers have found that the negative effects of divorce on children often peak in the first year after the divorce.
By two years after the divorce, family interaction is less chaotic and more stable. Per this theoretical construction, each system contains roles, norms and rules which may shape psychological development. For example, an inner-city family faces many challenges which an affluent family in a gated community does not, and vice versa. The inner-city family is more likely to experience environmental hardships, like crime and squalor. Bronfenbrenner has identified Soviet developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky and German-born psychologist Kurt Lewin as important influences on his theory.