The Effects of the Applied Social Sciences

Applied social sciences come with a wide range of practitioner skills in areas such as advocacy, counseling, and case management, and the knowledge and experience to be able to work with individuals, groups, and communities to improve their well-being and social functioning. Professionals here are eligible to apply for roles such as alcohol and drug worker, caseworker, school counselors, client service officers, community social workers, contact supervisors, and rehabilitation officers, among others. They can also fit well in all other sectors requiring the application of psychological knowledge, including the human resource offices, personnel, market research, community services, health, and social welfare.

With the applied social sciences processes, standards in social service delivery are observed. A set of core values is considered in the delivery of human and social services. Services are given with quality. Social justice is pursued. Every person is considered to have dignity and worth. The importance of human relationships is a. factor in social service delivery. Integrity and competence are expected of all professionals in the practice of social service. They are expected to work within their areas of competence and to develop and enhance their professional expertise. People in need are helped by social workers to address social problems. Social injustice is challenged.

Social Awareness, Self-awareness, and Self-knowledge

Social awareness, self-awareness, and self-knowledge are very essential for quality participation and functioning in society for they incorporate one’s appreciation of both the inner-ecology and the social ecology. We become aware of who we are as individuals, because of the presence of others with whom we share our existence. When we come to recognize that there are other people and that they are essentially distinct and different from us, that is the start of our social awareness that simultaneously leads us to become conscious and aware of ourselves as beings or persons. 

Social awareness is important for managing own response to change, and it forms an essential part of interpersonal intelligence. For students, this involves recognizing others’ feelings and knowing how and when to assist others. It involves learning to show respect for and understand others’ perspectives and their emotional states and needs. It likewise involves learning to participate in positive, safe, and respectful relationships, defining and accepting individual and group roles and responsibilities. This becomes the foundation of student understanding of their role in advocacy in society and to build their capacity to critique societal constructs and forms of discrimination, such as racism and sexism. Social awareness capacitates individuals to appreciate diverse perspectives, contribute to civil society, and understand relationships. 

Self-awareness is an important step toward self-understanding and self-mastery and it forms an essential part of intrapersonal and emotional intelligence. It means having the capacity to understand your personality, behaviors, habits, and emotions. It includes being conscious of what you are good at (strengths) as well as of what you are not good at (weaknesses). As a student, it also involves identifying and describing the factors that influence your emotional responses as well as develop a realistic sense of your personal.abilities, qualities, and strengths. This is done through knowing what you are feeling in the moment, and having a realistic assessment of your own abilities resulting in a well-grounded sense of self-knowledge and self-confidence. It involves reflecting on and evaluating your learning, identifying personal characteristics that contribute to or limit your effectiveness, learning from successes or failures, and being able to interpret your own emotional states, needs, and perspectives. A self-aware individual acts with personal and social capability through recognition of emotions, recognition of personal qualities and achievements, understanding oneself as learner, and developing a reflective practice. 

Attitude and Value Change

Tensions emanating from technological, social, and economic change bring about attitude and value change. With all changes happening especially in the climate change context, social and cultural values that may not be in support of survival need to give way to those that are life nurturing. Two frameworks for climate change resiliency suggested ask either for mitigation strategies or adaptation strategies to ensure human survival and prosperity.

Relying only on disaster risk reduction and effective management of climate change is not adequate; there is a need to have attitudinal and value transformation on negative inclinations like the “bahala na” attitude; these cannot lead to individual, group, or community sustainability. Our attitudes and values must change with time, so as to allow our new abilities to survive to emerge. Our lifestyles are as good as they are sustainable and supported by our life means.

Behavioral Change

Behavior is acquired or developed slowly and once it’s part of your life, you will learn the difficulty of behavioral change. It is hard to break old habits or adopt new ones. Making a permanent change in behavior is never a simple process, and it requires a substantial commitment of time, effort, and emotion. Sometimes, one has to make several tries before succeeding. Achieving behavioral change demands multiple solutions and even several different techniques. Often, in the process of trying to change, many people become less motivated, discouraged, and give up on their goals to change their behaviors. Generally, behavioral change is highly transactional. The motivation is sustained by cost analysis. If change is perceived to bring immediate gratification with good benefits compared to the status quo, the behavioral change process tends to be sustainable. Behavioral change management is never easy, but psychologists, therapists, physicians, and teachers have developed a number of ways to effectively help people change their behaviors.

Research has produced theories to explain how change occurs. In the late 1970s, researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente were studying ways to help people quit smoking and ended up developing one of the best known approaches to change, called the Stages of Change model or The Transtheoretical Model (TTM). This model demonstrates that change is not easy and requires a gradual progression of small steps toward a larger goal. The model has been found to be an effective aid in understanding how people go through change in behavior. Based on this model, there are three most important elements in changing a behavior: (1) readiness to change; (2) barriers to change; and (3) expect relapse. One needs to have resources to aid change. These may include both economic and social capital, a support network, and an enabling environment. Change happens in a gradual way. Relapses are considered an inevitable part of the change process in achieving a lifelong change. Unwillingness and resistance to change are very normal during the early stages. In the process, one becomes accustomed to the process and increases the commitment to achieving the behavioral change goals.

Self-change can be hard and so is changing others. Individual behavior and collective behavior all need to change if the behavior in question is not positive. Applied social sciences bring in a wealth of approaches, techniques, and tools to facilitate change on the individual level and on the group level.

Behavioral change has been rightly associated with the role of the applied social sciences processes. There is more discourse on power and corruption, conflict management and peacebuilding process, and risk assessment behavior. The media have made issues of power and corruption to become a public matter leading to arrests and detention and trials of the powerful political individual like the three Philippine senators who were tried for plunder cases in 2014 (Former Senate President, Sen. Ponce Enrile, former Senate Minority Leader, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada, and Sen. Bong Revilla). 

The practice and insights from social work and counseling are influencing progress in conflict management and peacebuilding in Mindanao and across society. Counselors and social workers are more and more impacting public response to risk assessment behavior on indiVidual, group, and community levels. The campaign against the spread of HIV and prevention as well as care for the afflicted is largely due to the input from applied social sciences and the work of the professionals in the practice.

Structural Change

Structural change refers to the radical shift in the way reality is organized and does not necessarily include substantive change. Structural change, in economic terms, is the transformation of policy, legal, social, cultural, economic, and/or physical aspects of an environment that impede equity for all. As such, it requires long-term interventions that build on knowledge, behavior, and attitude modification across multiple domains: public and private institutions, civil society, community groups, and the general population. Normally, this is only realizable when there is the transformation in dominant sectors that help to remove barriers to equity for all in every opportunity area such as health and safety, education, employment, housing, and income and wealth. The complexity of issues may require starting in one institution and breeding to another institution as well as long-term close monitoring of public policies.

In many countries, women were not allowed to hold public office and they were made to look incompetent using a social structure, for example, that prevented them to go further in education or have exposure to public service. Systemically, their exposure was in the kitchen and domestic context. To change this, there are global efforts from public policy to social awareness campaign and education where organizations and companies are required to have women representation in workplace and public affairs.

In the recent past, the family structure did not just describe the biological and marital relationship that bonded people together but it included the aspects of living together under the same roof or very close proximity. Today, the concept of family remains to be the basic unit of human relations but does not necessarily imply living together. Furthermore, the institution of marriage was confined to opposite-sex partners but today, there is a growing acceptance of same-sex unions and marriages across the globe. 

Evidently, personal and family relations, gender, overseas migration of Filipino workers, domestic violence, single parenting, community life, criminality, and substance abuse are not only changing in the structure; they are also becoming more common and normal. Applied social sciences are facilitating much of people’s struggle to live with these changes. Social work, counseling, and communication are making common issues more of a public discourse leading to greater acceptance and better understanding and coping on the individual, group, and community levels. Social science concepts and theories have provided the foundation and tools to deal with changes in a more comprehensive way.

Synthesis of the Effects of Applied Social Sciences

Social sciences, in their broadness, provide a huge theoretical resource to explain much of the social phenomena that affect individuals, families, groups, and communities. Applied sciences raise the social science to a practical science to address personal, family, group, and community problems by helping individuals develop their capacity to fit well in the environment and by challenging the environment to become better for individuals to flourish. Guidance and counseling, social work, and communication and journalism provide the mechanism, tools, methods, and processes to bridge the individual and his / her community. Applied social sciences are rooted in the principles of human rights, social justice, and inclusion as well as empowering individuals, groups, and communities to develop their full potential and well-being. When these are not realized, denied, or violated, then applied social sciences set in with appropriate measures to transform humanity.