You are here

Dimensions of Human Behavior

Dimensions of Human Behavior
Person and Environment

Fifth Edition
Experience with SAGE edge

© 2015 | 624 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

In the Fifth Edition of her acclaimed text, Elizabeth D. Hutchison explores the multiple dimensions of both person and environment and their dynamic interaction in the production of human behavior. Thoroughly updated, the text weaves its hallmark case studies with the latest innovations in theory and research for a comprehensive and global perspective on human behavior.


The companion volume, Dimensions of Human Behavior: The Changing Life Course, Fifth Edition, is a comprehensive examination of human behavior across all major developmental stages. Containing powerful case studies and the most current theory and research, the book includes greater emphasis on more stages than any other text. Together, these two texts provide the most comprehensive coverage available for Human Behavior courses. Order the books together with bundle ISBN: 978-1-4833-8097-1.

Case Studies
Part I: A Multidimensional Approach for Multifaceted Social Work
Chapter 1. Human Behavior: A Multidimensional Approach
Human Behavior: Individual and Collective  
A Multidimensional Approach  
Diversity, Inequality, and the Pursuit of Social Justice: A Global Perspective  
Knowing and Doing  
Scientific Knowledge: Theory and Research  
A Word of Caution  
Chapter 2. Theoretical Perspectives on Human Behavior
Multiple Perspectives for a Multidimensional Approach  
Systems Perspective  
Conflict Perspective  
Exchange and Choice Perspective  
Social Constructionist Perspective  
Psychodynamic Perspective  
Developmental Perspective  
Social Behavioral Perspective  
Humanistic Perspective  
The Merits of Multiple Perspectives  
Part II: The Multiple Dimensions of Person
Chapter 3: The Biological Person
An Integrative Approach for Understanding the Intersection of Interior (Proximal) Biological Health and Illness and Exterior (Distal) Environmental Factors  
A Look at Six Interior (Proximal) Environment Systems  
Exterior (Distal) Socioeconomic Environment and Interior (Proximal) Health Environment  
Chapter 4: The Psychological Person: Cognition, Emotion, and Self
Cognition and Emotion  
Theories of Cognition  
Theories of Emotion  
Cognitive/Emotional “Disorders”  
The Self  
Chapter 5: The Psychosocial Person: Relationships, Stress, and Coping
The Self in Relationships  
The Concept of Stress  
Coping and Adaptation  
Normal and Abnormal Coping  
Chapter 6: The Spiritual Person
The Spiritual Dimension  
Transpersonal Theories of Human Development  
The Role of Spirituality in Social Work  
Part III. The Multiple Dimensions of Environment
Chapter 7: The Physical Environment
Human Behavior and the Physical Environment  
The Natural Environment  
The Built Environment  
Place Attachment  
Accessible Environments for Persons With Disabilities  
Chapter 8: Culture
The Challenge of Defining Culture  
Traditional Understandings of Culture and Variation in Human Behavior  
Contemporary/Postmodern Understandings of Culture and Variation in Human Behavior  
A Postmodern, Holistic Application of Culture  
The Meaning of Culture  
Chapter 9: Social Structure and Social Institutions: Global and National
Patterns of Social Life  
Contemporary Trends in Global and U.S. Social Institutions  
Theories of Social Inequality  
Chapter 10: Families
Family Defined  
The Family in Historical Perspective  
Theoretical Perspectives for Understanding Families  
Diversity in Family Life  
Challenges to Family Life  
Chapter 11: Small Groups
Small Groups in Social Work  
Dimensions of Group Structure  
Group Composition  
Basic Group Processes  
Interdisciplinary Teams and Leadership  
Chapter 12: Formal Organizations
A Definition of Formal Organizations  
Perspectives on Formal Organizations  
Burnout: A Negative Organizational Outcome  
Social Work and Formal Organizations  
Social Work Leadership in Formal Organizations  
Culturally Sensitive Care Systems  
Chapter 13: Communities
A Definition of Community  
Territorial Community and Relational Community  
Social Workers and Communities: Our History  
Theoretical Approaches to Community  
Social Workers and Communities: Contemporary Issues  
Chapter 14: Social Movements
A Definition of Social Movements  
Social Movements and the History of Social Work  
Perspectives on Social Movements  
Social Movement Outcomes  
Social Movement Trends  
Social Movements and Contemporary Social Work  
About the Author
About the Contributors


Instructor Teaching Site

SAGE edge for Instructors supports your teaching by making it easy to integrate quality content and create a rich learning environment for students.

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding.
  • Editable, chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer complete flexibility for creating a multimedia presentation for your course.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter is included.
  • Multimedia content including audio and video resources are available for use in independent or classroom-based explorations of key topics.
  • Teaching Tips summarize key concepts by chapter to help you prepare for lectures and class discussions.
  • Class Activities can be used in class to reinforce active learning. The activities apply to individual or group projects.
  • Discussion Questions help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content. 
  • Course cartridge for easy LMS integration is included.
Student Study Site

SAGE edge for Students provides a personalized approach to help students accomplish their coursework goals in an easy-to-use learning environment.

  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts.
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material.
  • A customized online action plan includes tips and feedback on progress through the course and materials, which allows students to individualize their learning experience.
  • Chapter summaries with learning objectives reinforce the most important material.
  • EXCLUSIVE! Access to full-text SAGE journal articles that have been carefully selected to support and expand on the concepts presented in each chapter is included. 

“Of all HBSE texts that have saturated the market, Person and Environment continues to lead the way in thoroughness, structure of content, and relevance for student learning.”  

Billy P. Blodgett, West Texas A&M University

 “The Hutchison book does an outstanding job of conceptualizing multidimensional understanding, breadth versus depth, and general knowledge and unique situations.”

Diane Calloway-Graham, Utah State University

“The realistic case studies drive home the point that students are preparing to work with real people confronting serious issues—it adds to the professional development we’re trying to do in our program.”

Karla T. Washington, University of Louisville

“This text is well written, using fantastic case examples that enhance understanding of the material.”

Donna Taylor, University of Arkansas at Monticello

“Hutchinson offers a unique text by presenting a melding of theory with practice. Utilizing case examples to highlight this intersection of theory, research, and life experiences, this book truly addresses human behavior in the social environment.”

Carla Mueller, Lindenwood University


Professor Catina Caban Owen
Social Work, Eastern Connecticut State Univ
May 17, 2015

Using to teach Human Behavior.
Great text!!!

Dr Annette Franklin
Social Work Dept, Cleveland State University
February 25, 2015

no comments

Professor Saman Yaghmaee
School Of Social Work, San Diego St Univ-San Diego
January 3, 2015

I used the previous edition of this book and really liked it. I also appreciate the online materials available for both students and instructors.

Ms Jenifer Evers
Sociology Soc Work Anthro Dept, Utah State University
December 15, 2014
Key features



  • Greatly expanded coverage of how both person and environment are being shaped by new information and communication technologies (ICTs) includes such topics as the role of virtual social support in human well-being; assistive technologies for persons with disabilities; how new technologies are changing culture; the use of technology in social service delivery; virtual groups and virtual communities; and the use of ICTs in recent social movements such as Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street.
  • New and updated cases include a new case of a Chinese-American medical student, a new case of an undocumented immigrant seasonal worker, a new case of a support group for lesbian, bisexual, questioning, and transgender women in a residential substance abuse treatment facility, and updated developments in the living wage movement case study.
  • Extensively updated chapters throughout reflect recent rapid developments in theory and research in a wide range of behavioral science disciplines.
  • New theories discussed include capabilities theory, the role of mental time-travel in human behavior, fuzzy set theory, critical race theory, intersectionality theory, interactional ritual chains theory, and ecocritical theories.
  • Expanded discussion of postmodern approaches, diversity, and oppression includes a discussion of postmodern understanding of the body, a new section on environmental/ecological justice, an expanded discussion of diversity and social justice issues in social work with small groups, and a discussion of multiple psychological senses of community.
  • Up-to-date coverage of spirituality, positive psychology, gender and sexual orientation, evidence-based practice, societal change, critical theory, and ethical dilemmas helps readers develop an understanding of key concepts.
  • Coverage of new developments in neuroscience includes recent research on brain circuitry involved in thoughts and how the human brain is wired for social life, discussion of new information on the neuroscience of emotion and emotional styles, and an exploration of the role of neuroscience of emotions in stimulating social action.
  • Updated national and global data on institutional trends includes the latest incidence and prevalence data on major diseases, as well as the latest national and global data on trends in eight major social institutions.
  • Expanded critical analysis of recent policy trends includes the White House faith-based initiative, disability policy, environmental policy, policies related to same-sex couple families, administrative policies in social service organizations, and the role of social movements in shaping public policy.
  • Expanded discussion of gene-environment interactions includes discussion of how environments turn genes off and on and how environments act on genetic material, as well critical analysis of gene-environment interaction.
  • Empowering learning tools in every chapter—including  chapter-opening orienting questions and case studies, key ideas, exhibits and photos, margin notes, increased use of critical thinking questions, and chapter-ending practice principles, exercises, and web resources—help students master course material.

Sample Materials & Chapters

Chapter 4

Chapter 7

Chapter 10

Preview this book

For instructors

Review and Desk copies for this title are available digitally via VitalSource.

Request e-review copy

If you require a print review copy, please call: (800) 818-7243 ext. 6140 or email

Select a Purchasing Option

Electronic version
Prices from
*180 day rental