Human Behavior Theory and Social Work Practice with Marginalized Oppressed Populations


Roberta R. Greene, Michael Wright, Melvin Herring, Nicole Dubus, and Taunya Wright

Preface: Call to Action

The preface is a call to action to social work educators and students to use human behavior and the social environment to further support cross-cultural practice among marginalized populations.

Introduction to RESM


Chapter 1

Chapter 1 describes the purpose of the book and its connection to social work’s dual mission to foster individual and societal well-being. It then presents an overview of the resilience-enhancing stress model (RESM). Examples of how the model elements can be applied in resilience-enhancing cross-cultural social work practice include an account of Ruby Bridges and her family, a story of school integration in New Orleans, as well as a social worker’s personal quest for culturally inclusive human behavior theory and practice.

The Narrative Interview and RESM Cross-Cultural Social Work Practice


Chapter 2

This chapter discusses the social worker's use of narrative theory to conduct cross-cultural interviews: He or she addresses the presenting problem and helps clients gain more equal access to goods, resources, and services. A case study and excerpts of interviews are presented.

Risk and Resilience Theory: An Outcome Approach


Chapter 3

This chapter describes risk and resilience theory, drawing the reader’s attention to the evolution of resilience as a process and as a functional outcome. The chapter explains how the theory’s terms and assumptions can be applied to reduce risks, enhance protective factors, and promote resilience. The chapter addresses the requirement that “social workers understand theories of human behavior and the social environment, individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities” (CSWE, 2015, p. 7). The mandate to apply evidence-based theory is also met through a summary of risk and resilience research.

RESM Assessment and Intervention Tools: Ecological and Systems Theory


Chapter 4

This chapter discusses ecological and systems theory assumptions chosen for their suitability as tools for working with marginalized populations. By using the tools offered by the RESM theory base , the reader can learn how to engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate the helping process with oppressed, stigmatized client populations and constituencies.

The RESM Interview: Groups, Organizations, and Social Movements


Chapter 5

This chapter discusses RESM theory and practice methods for social work practice with groups, organizations, and social movements. The characteristics and function of systems at each level are defined, and the way in which the social worker can mobilize these various interlocking social systems to contribute to people’s resilience is described. This discussion provides a picture of the social worker’s possible scope of work from micro- to macro-practice, enacting the axiom, "the person is political."

An Individual Presenting Problem, the Family, and a Marginalized Community


Chapter 6

This chapter discusses the case study of Rosa, a woman with diabetes who lives with her family in a Texas barrio. The readers learn how biopsychosocial and spiritual factors influence well-being. They also learn about interventions that address her medical regime, her family, and her community, including social justice issues in the barrio.

African-American Dementia Clients and Their Caregivers

With Guest Author Nancy Greene


Chapter 7

This chapter discusses issues facing African-American clients with dementia and the challenges faced by their caregivers. The emphasis is on combating stigma and accessing environmental supports. Suggestions for courses on caregiving are provided.

Educational Resilience, Environmental Adversities, and the School Social Worker

With Guest Authors Youjung Lee and Rebekah Jamison


Chapter 8

This chapter suggests that educational resilience can be fostered through interventions that enhance children’s learning, develop their talents and competencies, and protect or buffer them against environmental adversities, such as school bullying. The role of the school social worker and the school as a societal institution is described.

Refugee Resettlement: A Challenge to Resilience

Nicole Dubus


Chapter 9

Refugees have been persecuted and have faced many fears before seeking refuge in the United States. Consequently, social workers in the field of resettlement require the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to work across cultures and to foster their constituencies’ resilience. This chapter discusses RESM practice strategies to support this effort. It also examines how a country receiving refugees can deal with the conception of diversity, inclusion, social welfare, and social purpose.

Community Policing and Training: The Grand Narrative and the Third Space

Melvin Herring and Guest author Shuntay Tarver


Chapter 10

Given the recent racial strife, it may be said that the struggle to serve diverse clients and constituencies is yet to be resolved. Social work professionals can be mobilized to meet this challenge, to combat discrimination, and to advance social, economic, and environmental justice. This chapter about culturally inclusive police training contributes to that effort.

A Critical Examination of Race/Ethnicity and Chronic Stress in Indigenous Communities

With Guest Author James Freeman


Chapter 11

This chapter applies the RESM to examine chronic stress and the effects of race/ethnicity among indigenous populations. The idea that chronic stress and political inequities can possibly lead to historical trauma is discussed. Unique social, cultural, and political experiences are explored, including the role of the history of the National Indian Child Welfare Association. Interventions include strengthening constituencies’ local control of social services and helping clients learn about their cultural roots.

Grand Narratives: Building Community and Global Resilience


Chapter 12

This chapter describes techniques to help communities become more resilient. It explores how social workers can bring stakeholders together to create a collective narrative, to develop strategies to combat human rights abuses, as well as to conduct community activities to improve a city’s social capital and infrastructure. The city of Pittsburgh (a member of the 100 Resilient Cities project) is used as a case example.