Biopsychosocial Analysis: Behavior and Social Environment

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Key Biological, Psychological, and Social Factors in the Case

The development of a child through various milestones is dependent on various biological, psychological, and social factors. In the case of Sabrina, several biological factors affect her development. Some of such developmental characteristics that baby Sabrina depicts can be traced back to her genetic inheritance from her mother Jackie, her father, and her biological maternal and paternal grandparents. The natural characteristics that are evident in Sabrina’s life from her point of birth act as pointers to genetically inherited traits. For instance, Sabrina has a low birth weight and low APGR score. These manifestations are attributable to the behavior of her mother (Jackie) when she was pregnant. At the age of 18, when Jackie was pregnant with Sabrina, she was still a drunkard. Alcohol and drug abuse affect the development of an unborn child. This case reveals the underweight situation of Jackie’s daughter. The fact that Sabrina’s father was jailed for drug charges also indicates that he was a drug abuser. These practices affected Sabrina’s prenatal development. Moreover, the death of Sabrina’s mother due to drug overdose further indicates the causes of the child’s underweight at birth and the low APGR score. Despite Sabrina being 2 years of age, she cannot walk on her own like other children of her age. At two years, as Kartal (2007) confirms, a child that has a normal development curve can run, walk, and comprehend special messages. For instance, such a child can build a 6-tower stack using cubes. This gap implies that Sabrina should be walking and making two to three-word sentences with ease. It is also against the development curve when baby Sabrina cannot make long or short calls without assistance, even during the day. In normal child development milestones, a 2-year-old child is dry during the day.

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Various psychological factors are in play in the case of baby Sabrina. For instance, Sabrina’s mental development is delayed. At two years of age, she cannot walk without assistance. A normally developing child should walk downstairs. Body movement and balance are controlled by the hypothalamus part of the human brain. Unstable movement and the inability to walk without backup are an indication of poor brain development in Sabrina. It is also important to note that 80% of human brain is developed by the age of 18 months to allow the infant to try most of the human characteristics. Prenatal and postnatal factors affect the psychological development of a child. In the case of Sabrina, a good indicator that her psychological development was affected by her mother’s behavior is that she used to take alcohol and abuse other drugs. Alcohol and drug abuse during pregnancy increase the accumulation of toxins that affects the child’s psychosomatic growth during the prenatal period. The fact that Sabrina’s father is a drug abuser also implies that her psychological development could have been affected by his behavior. For instance, the baby was a secondary smoker. Moreover, lack of proper nutrition during the prenatal stage is another factor that could have affected Sabrina’s psychological development. Jackie used to take alcohol while she was pregnant. She did not have firm family support for her to obtain proper nutrition for her unborn child. The psychological environment of the mother can also affect the mental progress of her unborn child. Sabrina was born in an unstable relationship between her mother and father. This situation implies that her mother was depressed during her prenatal stages due to reasons such as the separation of her parents, drugs and alcohol abuse, dropping out of school, being sucked from jobs, unplanned pregnancy, and an unstable relationship with the baby’s father. Cognitive development can be affected by both genetic and environmental factors (Kartal, 2007). For instance, her poor brain development may have an impact on it. Besides, her mother’s lack of time to expose her to different learning activities may have played a key role.

Several social factors come into play in Sabrina’s case. Poor childhood development characteristics that baby Sabrina depicts are indicators of a poor social environment. For instance, Sabrina does not have social attachment/intimacy to any of the people in her environment. This gap affects her cognitive behavior. For instance, the social environment that baby Sabrina is brought up from the point of conception to her 2 years of age is wanting. Her mother experienced social problems of being brought up by a socially disconnected family. Jackie witnessed her father’s drunken and verbally abusive behavior. It was also in the same period that her parents separated. She could visit each one separately when asking for money. Because of these social problems, Jackie dropped out of school, got into drug and alcohol abuse at age 15, and eventually got into child labor. Consequently, she was impregnated by a drug abuser at age 18 in a socially crushed environment. The implication on Sabrina is that she is brought up by a mother who lacks any social support to the extent that she ends up bearing the baby in a socially depressed environment where she has no job, she is alcoholic, her parents are separated, and one whose husband is in drug charges. Sabrina’s mother dies before she is 2 years old while her father is imprisoned for drug dealings. The baby also suffers rejection from her paternal grandfather’s family. Hence, she has to live with her maternal grandmother who is still working at 60 years. The fact that Sabrina’s grandmother has to work in a discount store makes her social environment even more complex since she has to be left with a friend (Betty) until the evening. These changes in a child’s immediate environment interfere with his or her cognitive development. Sabrina’s intimate relationship development is likely to be confused by her social environment.

Developmental Stages as they apply to the Child

Baby Sabrina is two years old. At this stage, she is not able to walk or make short and long calls without somebody’s assistance. Besides looking sickly and underweight, she has a low APGAR score. She cannot sleep at night. At this developmental stage of 2 years, a baby is supposed to be characterized by the following physical characteristics. To begin with, the baby’s posture is supposed to be erect, contrary to the case of baby Sabrina since she cannot support herself. This situation indicates an abnormal development. Secondly, the brain of the baby should be about 80% of its fully developed mass. The implication is that the baby can perform most of the cognitive acts. However, the fact that baby Sabrina cannot support herself upright indicates an abnormal brain development. As Wang, Lekhal, Aarø, and Schjølberg (2014) reveal, Sabrina’s motor development at two years of age is supposed to be characterized by her ability to walk erect and around obstacles. In the case of Sabrina, this achievement is yet to be witnessed since she cannot walk. Contrary to what is observable in the kid, a baby of her age is supposed to squat for a long period. At two years, a baby should also learn and implement toilet skills. In the case of baby Sabrina, she cannot do it without another person’s intervention. This gap indicates a motor development problem. The baby should also do other activities such as opening doors, grasping objects, climbing on chairs at low height, using her feet to operate toys, throwing objects, and/or sitting down on top of items and chairs (Wang et al., 2014). However, these motor skills are deficient in baby Sabrina. The indication is that there is a need for immediate motor therapy for the child for her to regain the lost development and/or be at the right developmental milestone.

Cognitive skills at two years of age are supposed to be characterized by the baby’s ability to coordinate the hand-to-eye movement. For instance, one can question the way she places her toy and/or separates toys of different types. The baby begins to figure out situations, for instance, the movement of a pet, ball, or toy. The baby also tries to discover the cause and effects of different phenomena, for example, pressing a toy makes her produce a certain sound. The child of her can identify people who are close and familiar to her or him (Kartal, 2007). The baby should be uncomfortable when such people leave. These indicators are particularly absent in Sabrina’s development. She is comfortably left with Mary as Betty goes to work. A baby in this developmental phase is supposed to begin by naming familiar objects. He or she should also recognize pain. Most of these characteristics are absent in Sabrina’s developmental stage. Language development at two years of age should be characterized by the ability of the child to learn how language can be used to achieve the desired response from others. A child in this stage understands what he or she listens to more than what he or she can talk about. He or she can utter three words or make a four-word sentence. He or she can refer to herself or himself as “I” or “Me”. The child can express sentiments such as refusing by saying ‘NO’. Besides constructing some plurals, the child should be very inquisitive by saying whatever he or she needs. Almost all verbal aspects that characterize a 2-year-old child are absent in Sabrina. This situation calls for verbal therapy to bring Sabrina to her right speech developmental stage.

The social and emotional characteristics of a two-year-old child are supposed to be depicted by the child’s ability to defend him or herself by fighting back or crying when hurt by another child. The baby can also use physical aggression to show frustrations, for example, by throwing him or herself down or yelling. The child also enjoys helping or participating in doing what adults do such as washing. In addition, the child becomes more impatient in waiting or taking turns with others. Children at this age become more possessive. Moreover, they imitate what they see, do parallel play, and/or become defiant. Not all these factors are manifested in the life of Sabrina. Hence, the indication is a mal-development in her social and emotional life.

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Systems that the Child Interfaces: How Well She Functions in the Context

Psychological and social disconnections characterize the system that Sabrina crosses. For instance, the baby is brought up by a psychologically depressed mother who soon dies out of a drug overdose. In such circumstances, maternal stress is likely to affect the infant in various ways. For instance, Sabrina who is born underweight requires special nutritional care for her to regain her weight. However, with an alcoholic and drug-abusing mother, she cannot access it. The situation is made worse by various factors that depress the mother when Sabrina is born. For instance, Sabrina’s mother thought that she could stay with her father. However, this expectation fails. She ends up staying with friends. Jackie is also accused of tardiness. She is later sucked from her job. This incident multiplies her stress. Besides her parents being separated, her boyfriend is on drugs. Moreover, she is also into drugs and alcohol. With such circumstances, the breastfeeding mother is psychologically stressed. She cannot feed the baby well. This situation makes baby Sabrina’s development poor. In fact, the baby has to survive these difficult infant circumstances. Later, Sabrina’s mother dies. The social environment changes as her paternal grandparents reject her. She is taken to her maternal grandmother. To make the matters worse, the grandmother is not only aged but also working and hence the reason why she has to leave the baby with Mary, a retired granny. This social environment is poor and unhealthy for an infant. It ends up slowing her psychosocial development.

Diversity Issues that may be affecting the Child

Few diversity issues may be influencing Sabrina’s life. In fact, her biological parents and the current guardians are of common cultural, religious, gender, and sexual orientations. However, the fact that she has all along been brought up in a single-parent family may have a social impact on her later stages of development. She is not exposed to any male people. Although Mary’s family has a male figure, he is very busy attending to her. This situation is likely to affect Sabrina’s perception of men together with how she behaves when she is around them. At two years of age, the child may not fully be cognizant of diversity factors. Hence, such factors have a low influence on her life.

The Child’s Strengths and the Available Resources for Her Social Environment

Sabrina has various strengths that can be used to make her recover from her lost developmental position. To begin with, although the child is a meticulous eater, she can eat. This observation implies that nutritional cures can be slowly and easily administered to her to correct her malnutrition issues (Kartal, 2007). The second strength is that the baby is receptive to environmental changes. For instance, since she cries at night, her cognitive skills can be slowly trained through therapy. Various resources are available within Sabrina’s reach. For instance, her grandmother likes her and that she is ready to develop her life better than that of her mother. Mary, the aged woman who lives with Sabrina as a daily guard, also adores her and likes reading children’s stories.

The Impact of the Interaction of the above Stages, Issues, and Factors on the Child’s Functioning/Life

When the above-discussed social and psychological environments interact, the child is likely to regain her lost development. For example, her ability to eat will be capitalized on during her nutritional treatment. Necessary nutrients and medication for brain and physical development will be administered (Kartal, 2007). The ability to be received will be emphasized during the training of various cognitive skills such as listening, object identification, object separation, and utterances. This interaction strategy will work well to influence the kid’s life positively. However, although the stories from Mary are likely to develop the kid’s motor skills, Mary’s ability to provide such a therapy consistently might be a challenge because of her old age. I recommend that Mary should sacrifice on behalf of Sabrina’s granny to seek the services of a caregiver who can be hired for a small fee to avail of such services. Moreover, since Mary and her husband are not alcoholics, the baby is likely to have a healthy social environment.

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Three Research-based Articles that address the identified Area

Wang et al.’s (2014) article, ‘Co-occurring Development of Early Childhood Communication and Motor Skills: Results from a Population-Based Longitudinal Study’ reveals how a child’s initial motor development is associated with its communicative development. The impact of poor motor development at early stages affects communication skills even at later stages of development. The article strategically fits Sabrina’s case since her poor motor skills are attributable to her poor communication skills. Foltran, Gregori, Franchin, Verduci, and Giovannini (2011) have written an article, namely the ‘Effect of Alcohol Consumption on Prenatal Life, Childhood, and Adolescence on Child Development’. In this article, Foltran et al. (2011) assert that alcohol consumption during pregnancy affects childhood development. The article explores various impacts of alcohol on the unborn child, for instance, delayed psychological development. The article also shows how alcohol and drug abuse affect childhood cognitive development. Ouellet-Morin et al. (2011) have also written the article, ‘Prenatal Alcohol Exposure and Cortisol Activity in 19-Month-Old Toddlers: An Investigation of the Moderating Effects of Sex and Testosterone’. In this article, Ouellet-Morin et al. (2011) confirm how issues such as early exposure of children to stressful conditions and the exposure of unborn children to teratogenic substances affect their brain structural development. The article also discusses the impact of exposure of unborn children to alcohol on motor development. Sabrina’s exposure to alcohol and drugs resulted in her poor mental development.

Intervention Plan

For the case of Sabrina’s delayed psychosocial development, various intervention measures can be put in place. For instance, Kartal’s (2007) advice that a developmentally delayed child requires nutrition treatment to aid her physical and mental development can help in handling Sabrina’s issue. For example, the use of calcium drugs and brain foods can aid in addressing her dietary issues. The child also requires alternative therapy programs to make her muscles and bones firm so that she can walk. To develop her cognitive skills and motor skills, reading children’s books to her, as Mary does, will work. The child’s grandmother and other close people will be required to attend to the baby to provide her with social support.


As discussed above, healthy childhood development is important for normal growth. As in the case study of Sabrina, delayed childhood development is manifested in the form of her disrupted biological, psychological, and social growth. When applying intervention measures, it is important to analyze the developmental characteristics that the victim is deficient in, her current environment, and her strengths and challenges in terms of interacting with the diversified environment to solve the condition.

Reference List

Foltran, F., Gregori, D., Franchin, L., Verduci, E., & Giovannini, M. (2011). Effect of alcohol consumption on prenatal life, childhood, and adolescence on child development. Nutrition Reviews, 69(11), 642-659.

Kartal, H. (2007). Investments for Future: Early Childhood Development and Education. Educational Sciences: Theory & Practice, 7(1), 543-554.

Ouellet-Morin, I., Dionne, G., Lupien, S., Muckle, G., Côté, S., Pérusse, D., Tremblay, R., & Boivin, M. (2011). Prenatal alcohol exposure and cortisol activity in 19-month-old toddlers: an investigation of the moderating effects of sex and testosterone. Psychopharmacology, 214(1), 297-307.

Wang, V., Lekhal, R., Aarø, E., & Schjølberg, S. (2014). Co-occurring development of early childhood communication and motor skills: results from a population-based longitudinal study. Child: Care, Health & Development, 40(1), 77-84.

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"Biopsychosocial Analysis: Behavior and Social Environment." PsychologyWriting, 2 Apr. 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Biopsychosocial Analysis: Behavior and Social Environment'. 2 April.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Biopsychosocial Analysis: Behavior and Social Environment." April 2, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Biopsychosocial Analysis: Behavior and Social Environment." April 2, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Biopsychosocial Analysis: Behavior and Social Environment." April 2, 2022.