Bronfenbrenner System Theory
Urie Bronfenbrenner is thought to be one of the leading scholars in the developmental psychology field. His System Theory states that a child's psychological development is directly related to the environment in which they live. He identified five different environmental systems in which a child is exposed to during his or her development. These systems are the microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, macrosystem, and chronosystem. Each system contains different norms and rules by which the system operates and effects psychological development.
The microsystem refers to the most immediate groups or institutions that a child interacts with on a regular basis. This includes school, home, church, neighborhood, and peers. A child's biological make-up is also apart of his or her microsystem. A child's mesosystem refers to the connections he or she makes between the aforementioned institutions and groups. The exosystem involves links between social settings that a child does not directly come in contact with, but still affects them. This might include a parent who works a very stressful job and that stress transfers to the home and eventually to the child. The macrosystem includes the culture where a child lives. This encompasses social and economic status, ethnicity, heritage, and values. Finally, the chronosystem is any environmental event that happens during the course of an individual's life. This might include divorce within the family, a mother leaving the home to go to work, or the death of a loved one.