CHAPTER 2 THE ECOLOGICAL PERSPECTIVE Summary of Content 1. Ecological Thinking Individuals and their physical and social environments can be fully understood only in the context of the relationship between and among them, in which individuals and collectivities and physical and social environments continually influence the operations of one another—always within specific historical and cultural contexts. 2. Person:Environment Fit The ecological perspective emphasizes the fit between the needs, capacities, behavioral styles, and goals of individuals, families, groups, and communities and the characteristics of the social and physical environments within a given cultural and historical context. In the continuous transactions between peo- ple and environments, disruptions often emerge in the person:environment fit. These upsets are generated by discrepancies between needs or capaci- ties on the one hand, and environmental qualities and responsiveness on the other.
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