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The very notion that romantic and other social relationships may affect the cognitive development in infants from the beginnings of their life suggest parents should take courses or classes in social relationships skills more so than parenting or well baby classes to ensure their babies mature cognitively and not just physically.
4. An important environmental impact on the health of individuals from a social psychology perspective is the environment of the school or workplace and the environment at home. As most people mature they spend more time on average either at school or working, whether at a job or as part of their community. This environment can lead to good health or poor health depending on the number of stressors the environment presents to the individual in the environment. For example, a child growing up in a cultural environment that teaches exclusions and segregation may suffer from poor health when they grow into adults if they are a minority population considered less important than another cultural group. If someone goes to work and consistently feels excluded from their peers, and works within a stressful environment, or in an environment that causes stress (like a high-demand job or a long commute resulting in stress to and from work) this can have negative emotional and physical impact on the individual in question.
People that are unhappy and lack a warm and welcoming social environment are more likely to suffer from cognitive and social problems than people living in healthy environments (Friedlmeier, Chakkarath & Schwarz, 2005). The researchers suggest today's environment is increasingly intercultural, which may prove efficacious toward one's development or detrimental, depending on how well diversity and intercultural references are accepted or rejected in the environment (p. 32). Theories best explaining this phenomenon include those already discussed including the theory of cognitive dissonance and theories of impression management. If someone wanted to reduce the impact of an environmental factor on their health, they may decide to pursue impression management where they change their behaviors so that their beliefs align more with the culture or environment in which they live. Alternatively, one may approach cognitive dissonance from the standpoint that change is necessary, and therefore rather than work on impression management, will work to help people feel welcome when expressing opinions that may oppose those of the majority. Attachment theory (Friedlmeier, Chakkarath, & Schwarz (2005) suggest an individual may seek to attach themselves to a person or group that will help them overcome environmental challenges by providing a secure and understanding environment that allows for one to grow and understand how they can contribute to their health despite environment threats or perceived threats from people of various cultures.
5. Aggression theory discusses many types of violence including violence initiated or resulting from substance abuse. Aggression theory suggests that "substance-related violence" (CDC, 2006) is a form of aggression involving many different factors, not just the substance abuse alone, that contribute to violence. Substance-related violence may result from the abuse of alcohol, drugs or other substances, but it does not result from these factors alone. An individual's social history including their relationships with their parents, the type of environment they grew up in and their religious or cultural beliefs may all play a part in the manner in which someone that abuses a substance engages in violence. This is true whether the violence is self-directed or directed toward other people, which may result in significant harm including homicide if not addressed (CDC, 2006). Key to preventing substance-abuse violence or aggression is first removing the individual from the negative environment that helps facilitate access to the substance, and then forcing the individual to stop using the substance so a psychologist or other healthcare professional can determine what social, cognitive and other factors lead to the abuse of a substance to begin with. Then, one-by-one, the patient and healthcare provider, and possibly members of the family if they become involved, can work with the aggressive person to help them develop positive rather than negative behaviors when challenged or faced with aggression triggers.
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Friedlmeier, W., Chakkarath, P., & Schwarz, B. (2005, Feb). The importance of cross- cultural research for the social sciences. New York: Psychology Press.
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