For this discussion, identify a real-world social issue and discuss how biological or genetic factors may influence the issue. Examples of social problems include bullying, criminology, obesity, and alcoholism. Select a social issue for this post and discuss some of the biological or genetic factors that can negatively influence this issue.
Consider the following in your initial post:
- What does the biological approach reveal about the issue?
- Is there one biological or genetic factor that appears to have more influence than other factors that negatively impact the social issue?
- Could there be several biological or genetic factors that negatively impact the issue?
Be sure to find and cite supporting evidence for your viewpoint.
Respond to two other students, and compare and contrast your viewpoint with the perspectives expressed in their posts.
To complete this assignment, review the Discussion Rubric document.
AFTER COMPLETING THE INITIAL POST, PLEASE ALSO RESPOND TO THE FOLLOWING TWO STUDENTS REGARDING THE SAME TOPIC!
Bullying was defined as an aggressive goal-directed behavior that causes harm to another individual with the context of a power imbalance (Ellis, Gonzalez, Volk, & Embry, 2016). Bullying is a serious problem that directly affects millions of children and adolescents worldwide each year (Ellis et al., 2016). Bullying includes physical, verbal, psychological, sexual and online harassment, now referred to as cyber-bullying.
The biological approach reveals that those that engaged in bullying share the same personality traits. Bullies seek power and control. They displayed signs of submissiveness and the need to dominate. They are impulsive and get angry easily. Bullies show little empathy towards the person they are victimizing. The most common element is its role in the motivation to seek reward and respond to impulses. Neuroticism and extraversion seemed to be positively related to bullies who scored low on agreeableness, openness and conscientiousness. As a result, bullies are motivated to seek out rewards and become more assertive, dominant and outgoing (Funder, 2016). That is not to say that traits are evident to the same extent or with identical manifestations in all cultures, but rather that any trait can be observed in a subset of situations in any culture (Young, 2010). The existence of traits both narrower and broader than the Big Five may indicate additional biological causes both more and less specific than those that influence the Big five (Young, 2010). Those that exhibit certain common characteristics are usually victims of bullying. Personalities traits like introversion, low self-confidence and anxiety are common characteristics.
Biological as well as genetic factors both seem to have an influence on bullying. Studies have shown that some psychological traits have a high degree of genetic influence. According to Funder (2016) for example, a stressful environment will raise one’s cortisone levels. It is important to remember that biological processes affect behavior, but both behavior and the social environment also affect biological processes (Funder, 2016). Understanding each is helpful for understanding the others (Funder, 2016).
There are several biological factors that negatively impacts bullying. There are higher rates of depression and anxiety. Extensive research has revealed that bullying experiences are associated with emotional difficulties including feeling of loneliness, adjustment difficulties, low academic performance, low self-esteem and lack of appropriate social skills (Plexousakis, Kourkoutas, Giova-zolias, Chatira, & Nikolopoulos, 2019). Recent studies have shown that bullying is also associated with psychological dislocation, avoidance behaviors and symptoms of PTSD (Plexousakis et al., 2019). Children or adults that are bullied are at risk of suicide. Many issues contribute to suicide risk including depression, trauma history and problems at home. Bullying leads to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness both of which can contribute to suicidal thoughts.
Plexousakis et al. (2019) conducted a study in Greece that investigated the relationship between bullying and traumatic symptoms, while accounting for the role of parental bonding. The most significant finding of their study was the negative association of parental overprotection, on children’s involvement to bullying and victimization, as well as to the development of trauma which is consistent with other studies (Plexousakis et al., 2019). Both overprotection (as a form of control) and lack of care (as a form of emotional neglect and lack of support) regarding social-emotional developed created high risks conditions for psychological vulnerability (Plesousakis et al., 2019). The results were consistent with previous studies which emphasized the impact of dysfunctional relationships with both parents, which were linked with a child’s involvement with bullying behaviors (Plexousakis et al., 2019).
This is definitely a soft spot for me because I have first hand experience with this. As a child, I experienced bullying. We had a fire at our house and we had to move into a new neighborhood where the bullying began. Back in those days, no one cared. I was bullied almost every day in school especially being the new kid. Me and my siblings would get jumped and assaulted by other kids after school. At one point, they even try to burn our house down. One time I came home in tears because in the classroom someone behind me put gum in my hair. My Mom had to cut my hair off. I grew up to dislike bullies and what they stand for. I had so many behavioral problems growing up because of this. I was always fighting and in the principal’s office. I do agree that I felt feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. I felt angry all the time and felt that no one was going to protect me. What happened was that I started fighting back against the bullies. I would defend everyone even if I wasn’t the victim. Of course as I got older, I realized that I had to change my way of thinking to change my behavior.
When my children began going to school, I made sure that I kept open discussions about what was going on in school. I always taught my daughters not to engage in that type of behavior and to report anyone that they saw engaging in that behavior. I would share my stories with them. I wanted my children to learn how it felt to be a victim and then I shared with them stories of the other side on the consequences if you engaged in that kind of behavior as a police officer.
Ellis, B.J., Gonzales, J.M., Volk, A.A., & Embry, D.D. (2016). The meaningful roles intervention: An evolutionary approach to reducing bullying and increasing prosocial behavior. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 26(4), 622-637. doi: 10.1111/jora.12243.
Funder, D.C. (2016). The personality puzzle (7th edition). New York, NY: W.W. Norton & Company.
Plexousakis, S.S., Kourkoutas, E., Giova-zolias, T., Chatira, K. & Nikolopoulos, D. (2019). School bullying and post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms: The role of parental bonding. Frontier Public Health. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2019.00075.
Young, C.G. (2010). Personality neuroscience and the biology of traits. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 4(12). 1165-1180. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-9004.2010.00327.x
A social issue that stood out to me was alcoholism. This is something that runs in both sides of my family. I have heard some people say that alcoholism is genetic and have heard some people say that it is a choice. Mauro et al (2017) did an interesting study when it comes to genetics and alcoholism. In this study, they aimed to show that variations in the GATA4 gene have specific properties that bind to the ANA sequence which could increase susceptibility for alcohol use disorder. In the end, although there have been other past studies that do show a relationship between GATA4 and alcoholism, those findings were not replicated in the sample that they gathered. Although the study did not show any correlation between the gene and alcoholism, there are still past studies that show a link between the two. As far as this social issue goes, some other biological factors that can have an influence on it would be depression and anxiety.
Mauro, K. L., Helton, S. G., Rosoff, D. B., Luo, A., Schwandt, M., Jung, J., … Lohoff, F. W. (2018). Association analysis between genetic variation in GATA binding protein 4 (GATA4) and alcohol use disorder. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 53(4), 361–367. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.1093/alcalc/ag…
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