Title

Past, present, and future of research in school psychology: The biopsychosocial ecological model as an overarching framework.

Abstract

Conoley, Powers, and Gutkin (2020) called for an increased emphasis on models of psychological service delivery that are primarily indirect, adult-focused, and geared toward systems-level change in the schools. They asserted that research in school psychology should not focus on the problems of individual children and youth but address the “powerful ecosystems” that surround them. Although school- and system-wide interventions are certainly important and can have a positive impact on student outcomes, we contend that biopsychosocial models of human development that integrate the effects of genetics, personal characteristics and behaviors, environments, and broad social contexts are better frameworks for guiding future research in school psychology. In these models, the role of genetics is mediated by the family environment and broader social contexts to influence variability in cognitive, social-emotional, and behavioral domains of psychological functioning. These individual differences then interact with specific situations, leading to outcomes in educationally relevant behaviors, such as achievement, self-esteem, motivation, and peer relations. The focus of research in school psychology, therefore, should not be on “1 size fits all” school-wide interventions but rather on understanding how and why children and youth differ from one another and on translating research on the effects of genes, the environment, and their interplay into effective educational interventions. Research on bullying and victimization in schools is discussed as an example of the importance of taking a biopsychosocial ecological approach to studying complex behavior. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved) Impact and Implications—In this commentary, we explain why biopsychosocial models of human development are optimal for guiding research in school psychology. The focus of research in school psychology should not be on “1 size fits all” school-wide interventions but on understanding how and why children and youth differ from one another and on translating research on the effects of genes and the environment and their interplay into effective educational interventions. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Publication Title

School Psychology

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