The Behavioral System ModelThis is a featured page

Johnson believed that by grouping behaviors they could be predicted and ordered. She categorized all human behaviors into eight subsystems. Each subsystem has a specific task, however, the individual is viewed as a whole by virtue of the interdependence of each subsystem (Reynolds and Cormack, 1991). When there is an equal distribution among all eight subsystems then balance and equilibrium can be achieved.

Patient Behavioral Systems - adapted from Dee V and Randell B (1989):
  1. Ingestive – Behaviors associated with the intake of needed resources from the external environments, including food, fluid, information, objects, for the purpose of establishing an effective relationship with the environment.
  2. Eliminative – Behaviors associated with the release of physical waste products.
  3. Affiliative – Behaviors associated with the development and maintenance of interpersonal relationships with parents, peers, authority figures. Established a sense of relatedness and belonging with others including attachment behaviors, interpersonal relationships and communication skills.
  4. Dependency – Behaviors associated with obtaining assistance from others in the environment for completing tasks and/or emotional supports. Includes seeking of attention, approval, recognition, basic self-care skills and emotional security.
  5. Sexual- Behaviors associated with a specific gender identity for the purpose of ensuring pleasure/procreation, and knowledge and behavior being congruent with biological sex.
  6. Aggressive-protective – Behaviors associated with real or potential threat in the environment for the purpose of ensuring survival. Protection of self through direct or indirect acts. Identification of potential danger.
  7. Achievement – Behaviors associated with mastery of oneself and one’s environment for the purpose of producing a desired effect. Includes problem- solving activities. Knowledge of personal strengths and weaknesses.
  8. Restorative – Behaviors associated with maintaining or restoring energy equilibrium, e.g. relief from fatigue, recovery from illness, sleep behavior, leisure/recreational interests and sick role behavior.

Four assumptions can be made about the structure and function of each subsystem:

  1. “From the form the behavior takes and the consequences it achieves can be inferred what drive has been stimulated or what goal is being sought” (Johnson, 1980).
  2. Each individual has a “predisposition to act, with reference to the goal, in certain ways rather than in other ways” (Johnson, 1980).
  3. Each subsystem has available a repertoire of choices or scope of action alternatives from which choices can be made. (Johnson 1980).
  4. Observable outcomes are produced. (Johnson, 1980).

Functional requirements for each subsystem:

  1. “Protected from noxious influences with which the system cannot cope” (Johnson, 1980).
  2. “Nurtured through the input of appropriate supplies from the environment” (Johnson, 1980).
  3. “Stimulated for use to enhance growth and prevent stagnation” (Johnson, 1980).

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