Gaps In The Life Model

Piedra and Engstrom (2009) noted how the life model “remains general and unspecific regarding factors that affect immigrant families” (p. 272). Recall that there will never be one theory or a model that can fully explain a phenomenon or lay out all the steps and procedures when working with complex issues that clients present to social workers. Recognizing this, Piedra and Engstrom selected another theory in the immigration literature—segmented assimilation theory. They identified concepts from segmented assimilation theory to “fill in” the gaps that the life model does not address.

In this Discussion, you examine gaps in the life model by applying it to your field experience.


Using an example from your fieldwork experience (Georgia Department of Family and Children Services) and a diverse population you encountered at the agency (for example, in Piedra and Engstrom’s article, it was immigrant families), respond to the following:

  • Identify and describe the diverse population and the unique characteristics and/or the distinctive needs of the population in 3 to 4 brief sentences.
  • Explain how the life model can be applied for the population.
  • Explain where the gaps are in applying the life model for this population.
  • When looking at the gaps, explain which theory might be helpful in filling the gaps of the life model when working with this population.
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