Social & Emotional Welfare: Beyond Cognitive Capabilities - Research Paper

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1743 Words
Date:  2023-03-23


Social and emotional welfare refers to the ability of an individual to regulate their thoughts, emotions, and behavior. According to Thomson and Jaque (2018), social and emotional skills often differ from cognitive capabilities that include literacy or numeracy. Notably, social and emotional skills are concerned with the way people manage their emotions, engage with others, and perceive themselves as well. Cognitive capabilities, on the other hand, are dependent on precise factors and could change based on the formal and learning experiences of an individual. The social and emotional skills could influence the personal and behavioral outcomes of a person. In addition to that, social and emotional skills are playing a substantial role in the world today. The shift to urban regions implies the fact that people need to engage in diverse and new ways of thinking. More so, aging populations and the dismantled traditional networks emphasize the sense of trust, compassion, and cooperation among people. Therefore, this paper will primarily focus on the social and emotional welfare of adults by reviewing the existing literature and analyzing some of the responses gathered from interviews conducted.

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Research Question: What theory could be applied to explain the emotional and social welfare of adults?

Literature Review

Importantly, the development of a child could have a substantial effect on the emotional wellbeing of a person in their adulthood. The theory chosen to explain the social and emotional welfare of adults is Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The supposition indicates that the basic needs of an individual ought to be met before progressing to other stages in life. In the event where one of the primary or foundational needs lacks during the childhood or adolescent life of a person, one is likely to have a mental health issue in their adulthood (Schleicher, n.d). According to Thomson and Jaque (2018), when a child grows up in an environment where he or she feels unsafe and creates stress, the child would develop anxiety, depression, physical conditions, and lower brain function, which could prolong to adulthood.

Accordingly, Felitti et al. (2019) argued that medical researchers in primary care settings have seen the need to identify the relations between childhood abuse and health risk conducts in adulthood. Understanding these correlations is essential since studies have shown that childhood abuse and maltreatment affects the social and emotional welfare of the victims in their adult stage. Felitti et al. (2019) further asserted that considering that abuse and childhood experiences tend to have adverse effects on an individual's growth and development, childhood exposures ought to be understood and recognized as the major causes affecting the social and emotional wellbeing of adults.

Nonetheless, Felitti et al. (2019) conducted a study, which showed a significant relationship between child abuse and a poor familial environment in one's childhood to an array of risk factors that cause death among adults in the world today. Some disease conditions such as cancer, ischemic heart disease, chronic lung illnesses, liver diseases, and skeletal fractures result from a variety of childhood exposures. From Felitti et al.'s (2019) study, it is clear that adverse childhood experience on the health of adults is strong. Besides, the research also showed that most people exposed to one form of child adversities are exposed to at least one other. With this in mind, understanding the influence and impact of childhood experiences on adults could be beneficial. More so, Felitti et al. (2019) argued that some health outcomes of some adults could be related to some combinations of childhood experiences and adversities. From this, one can conclude that understanding the possible childhood adversities or adverse childhood experiences that result in emotional and social issues in adulthood could be essential in managing the circumstances in adults.

Adverse childhood experiences lead to violent acts and victimization in the future ('Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs),' 2019). According to Babad et al. (2019), adverse childhood experiences are a term that defines the stressful event that is inclusive of emotional and physical neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and exposure to substance uses by family members. The study by Babad et al. (2019) sought to determine the relationship that exists between adverse childhood experiences and risk-taking and sensation seeking. Risk-taking, in this case, describes the tendency to take risks to reward cues despite the related adverse consequences. At the same time, sensation-seeking is the act of pursuing novel and stimulating experiences (Babad et al., 2019). The results of the study showed that adults, particularly those who have experienced emotional abuse and neglect in their childhood, often have a different world view. Emotional abuse is often associated with withdrawal symptoms in adulthood, where one does not want to relate and mingle with other people. In a situation where an adult does not want to associate with other people, sensation-seeking tendencies are often low. Thus, this implies that sensation seeking is limited among adults who have experienced emotional abuse and neglect in their childhood.

Further, acts of environmental instability, which include witnessing violence, results in deteriorated academic performance hence showing the developmental impact of seeing violence (Babad et al., 2019). Notably, witnessing violence at home during childhood often leads to sensation seeking during adulthood. Mainly, this suggests that adverse childhood experiences related to unstable environments have long-lasting influences, including sensation seeking in adults. Similarly, Thomson and Jaque (2018) defined childhood adversity as exposure to abuse, neglect, and family dysfunction. Most of the items of childhood adversity often co-occur. With this in mind, the chances of psychopathology are likely to occur later in life. In a study conducted by Toussaint, Shields, Dorn, and Slavich (2014) under adverse childhood experiences study, results showed that greater exposure to adversities in one's childhood plays a substantial role in contributing to an array of medical and psychiatric issues. In addition to that, past trauma in adults has primarily been associated with emotional, mental imagery, which compromises the performance levels and increases anxiety. Most of these experiences, together with the prevalent psychological and social uncertainties, could affect task completion and problem-solving abilities.

Notably, the section above relates childhood experiences to the social and emotional welfare of adults. The literature analyzed shows that childhood experiences often influence the behavior and overall personal outlook of an individual in their adulthood. Abraham Maslow's theory can support the findings on the Hierarchy of Needs. As already mentioned, the supposition indicates that when a child lacks a critical foundational need when growing up, the outcomes could be presented in adulthood. As Henwood, Derejko, Couture, and Padgett (2014) indicated, the theory of the hierarchy of needs by Abraham Maslow could help in explaining the behavior of humans. The supposition is often presented as a pyramid where physiological needs such as food, air, and water are placed at the base, followed by safety, belonging, and esteem (Toussaint et al., 2014). At the topmost part of the pyramid is the need for self-actualization, which is defined as the desire to become everything that one could become. The pyramid is shown in the figure below.

Figure 1. Maslow's Theory of Hierarchy of Needs (Cherry, 2019).

From the pyramid described and shown above, one can see that the theory suggests that meeting the basic needs of an individual is a prerequisite for pursuing a fulfilling life. The supposition indicated that the ability of an individual and their desire to grow depends on whether or not their needs were met in their childhood life. According to Henwood et al. (2014), the requirements that were unsatisfied as an individual grew up are some of the factors that motivate people to act. Mainly, this implies that acts such as sexual violence and victimization, which are prevalent among adults with social and emotional issues. The theory's main idea is that all the needs of a person should be classified hierarchically. The early work of Maslow suggests that a person must fulfill their lower-level needs and move systematically to fulfilling the requirements in the hierarchy. Importantly, the condition of self-actualization falls at the top of the pyramid. Primarily, this distinguishes self-actualization from the other needs in the order, which are commonly referred to as deficiency needs. The deficiency needs are esteem, love/belonging, safety, and physiological conditions. It is critical to note that after a deficiency need has been achieved, a person can move up the pyramid to pursue the other goals and meet the requirements at the higher levels.

Review and Discussion

Importantly, social and emotional skills are essential for one to navigate through life. According to Schleicher (n.d), the social and emotional welfare of an individual influence all life's spheres, which include academic achievement, job performance, occupational attainment, health as well as personal and social well-being. In addition to that, these skills also influence cognitive growth and development. An example provided by Schleicher (n.d) showed that sufficient competence among children could be of help in assisting them to adapt better to the school environment while also enhancing a higher status among peers. Achievement in school often leads to improved occupational quality, health, and overall well-being.

From the literature analyzed in the section above, it is clear that the presence of adverse childhood experiences or childhood adversities has an adverse influence on the emotional and social well-being of a child. In turn, this leads to deteriorated cognitive development, which is often associated with poor academic performance. Another essential findings generated from the study is the fact that adults with relatively low social and emotional skills tend to experience adverse intellectual, work, and life outcomes. It is worth noting that low academic achievement is often associated with a lack of employment hence increases poverty levels. Life tends to be frustrating for individuals or victims of childhood adversaries who transition to adulthood without getting any psychological assistance. Other consequences of poor emotional and social welfare among adults include high divorce rates, poor health, propensity for taking risks and substance abuse, violent and criminal tendencies, and a higher rate of incarceration. As already mentioned, research by Felitti et al. (2019) showed that low social and emotional well-being is associated with a higher risk for chronic ailments such as cancer and lung diseases, to mention a few.

Similarly, violent and criminal tendencies often result due to increased frustrations that may prompt a person to engage in drugs and substance abuse. Eventually, a victim engages in harmful behavior, which warrants imprisonment. In some situations, cognitive skills may be well developed regardless of whether an individual has emotional and social issues. In such circumstances, it is essential to understand that cognitive skills cannot compensate for the lack of emotional an...

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