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Relational Networks Study in Community Psychology Essay

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Updated: Nov 12th, 2020

Network and Relational Perspectives

The article by Neal and Christens (2014) focuses on network and relational perspectives for community psychology, suggesting that they are of great importance for communities and, therefore, should be applied to enhance them. The research question stated by the authors is whether relational perspectives and networks are likely to provide the so-called links, thus integrating various levels of analysis or not. The hypothesis specified in the given research article may be identified as follows: networks and relational perspectives are essential for community psychology since they create a transactional view and improve relationships between individuals.

This article rests on the qualitative method of investigation, namely, on literature review and analysis. In this connection, no population was involved in the study. However, the authors provide an extensive review of the existing literature and provide relevant recommendations concerning the field. Beginning with the introduction to the issue, where they propose the significance of community psychology, the authors attempt to explain relationships as links connecting analysis levels.

Neal and Christens (2014) use the so-called ecological metaphor comparing social settings with the ecosystem-based on conceptual influences. The latter, undoubtedly, indicates that language, flow, and the overall approach to the study are properly prepared and organized.

The research findings show that the hypothesis is correct, and the context of community psychology may be better comprehend and improved with the help of network and relational perspectives. The transactions between individuals and groups may be understood deeper in terms of exploring organizational relationships. More to the point, the authors claim that the key issues of community psychology such as health promotion, coalition building, empowerment, and dissemination and implementation considered in the coalition are likely to enhance the effectiveness of methodological approaches in the field.

The mentioned findings seem to be trustworthy and relevant as they are based on the recent literature and reflect the latest tendencies in community psychology. The method used by the authors of the article is appropriate for this study since it is qualitative research that aims at answering questions related to methodology. It should also be emphasized that the sense of community that serves as one of seven core values in community psychology is addressed in this study.

Speaking of the community as a system consisting of people and explaining how they relate, the authors provide essential information regarding the links between them. As for limitations to the study, the authors lack the part that would focus on real participants. Nevertheless, they clearly understand that there is a need for further studies to highlight the most recent findings and then apply them in practice.

Community Psychology Practice

Published in the American Psychologist, the peer-reviewed article by Wolff (2014) aims at introducing readers to community psychology through a series of short stories, reflecting several employment conditions. Revealing the most important competencies in the given field, the author provides an overview of opportunities that are available to community psychologists. The research question is, what are the core competencies of community psychology to be used to provide care.

Accordingly, the hypothesis states that the social problems of racism, sexism, etc. may be addressed in terms of community-wide efforts. The detailed analysis and interpretation of the collected data show that the above hypothesis is correct.

Since the author selects the qualitative research method and literature review, no population is involved. Considering that the study focuses on the actual information and is presented in a number of real stories, the above method may be assessed as appropriate. From the stance of the reader, one may note that it helps the author to address the problem and provide such information that is comprehensible for both an expert and an average reader. This proves that the article is a valuable source that can be used for future investigations. The only limitation to the given research is the fact that it lacks the practical part and needs to be verified through future studies.

The research findings are presented in the table format and also supported by written explanations, thus creating visibility and comprehensiveness. In particular, Wolff (2014) concludes that empowerment, community inclusion and partnership, community leadership and mentoring, sociocultural competence, and so on present an essential foundation for community psychology practice to address social injustice.

The latter aspect is one of seven core values identified in community psychology that concerns such problems as homophobia, sexism, etc. In the broad social and philosophical sense, social injustice is the realities of the existential life disproportions of distribution along with the redistribution of vital goods and resources that are actually formed and perceived by the public and individual consciousness.

To understand the essence of social justice, the author dwells on the key points that are directly relevant to the problems associated with it. These findings prove that community psychologists may use the mentioned competencies as a powerful tool to adapt to changes by implementing community-based approaches. In general, the article seems to be rather significant for modern community psychology as it reflects the key concepts and outlines its future.

Psychology and Community Change

In their scholarly article, Zeldin, Christens, and Powers (2013) explore the gap between youth and adult population in the community and propose the essential role of psychology in bridging them. The research question is as follows: is a youth-adult partnership (Y-AP) that may address the gap between the mentioned populations. The hypothesis that is clearly specified by authors may be formulated in the following way: Y-AP is a unifying concept that develops the relationships and ensures their positive future. The precise analysis of the related scholarly sources reveals that the above hypothesis is appropriate.

The authors apply the qualitative research method and use the two case studies to collect the necessary data. Namely, Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) and Austin Voices for Youth and Education (AVEY), the programs that are established to connect adults and youth, are analyzed in terms of community organization.

The selected type of research aligns well with the purpose of the study and the theoretical framework, allowing focusing on qualitative data and understanding the practice of youth‐adult partnership through case studies. It also seems important to stress the fact that case studies are useful in specifies the most important problems and seeking ways to resolve them. Therefore, the significance of choice made by the authors cannot be overestimated.

As a result of the study, Zeldin et al. (2013) conclude that there are four core elements that ensure the effectiveness of Y-AP: authentic decision making, reciprocity, natural mentors, and community connectedness. This means that there is an opportunity to make nowadays strained relationships between young people and the adult population more close and responsive.

As it is noted by the authors in discussion sections, social and economic changes occurred in recent years as well as the existing structure makes these links complicated, and communities disintegrated. Therefore, the adult-youth collaboration is to be proposed as a public priority and promoted among communities. At this point, the findings made by the scholars are properly explained in the discussion that is the evident advantage of the article. They not only enumerate the findings but also emphasize that the future of community psychology lies in the integration of its elements.

Even though the study by Zeldin et al. (2013) reflects essential ideas, it is limited to the case studies used to collect and interpret data. It seems that there is a need for a detailed investigation of a range of other communities to come up with the full presentation of the situation. Nevertheless, the article undoubtedly benefits the theory and practice of community psychology. The collective wellness acts as the basis for this article in the framework of the core values of community psychology, along with the sense of community.

The study focuses on the community as a whole, thus considering its members as the coalition of individuals, both youth and adults. Such an approach seems to be the most appropriate one since it presents the opportunity to improve the future of the mentioned populations. The authors also note the civic engagement as one more advantage of the Y-AP introduction. What is also essential, the given study contributes to human development on economic and social levels based on the implementation of Y-AP in community settings.


Neal, J. W., & Christens, B. D. (2014). Linking the levels: Network and relational perspectives for community psychology. American Journal of Community Psychology, 53(3), 314-323.

Wolff, T. (2014). Community psychology practice: Expanding the impact of psychology’s work. American Psychologist, 69(8), 803-813.

Zeldin, S., Christens, B. D., & Powers, J. L. (2013). The psychology and practice of youth‐adult partnership: Bridging generations for youth development and community change. American Journal of Community Psychology, 51(3), 385-397.

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