The model dates backsto 20th century from the writings of Lewin, Barker, andBronfernbrenner amid others who started understanding human behavior as an interactionof an individual and the surrounding.
The ecologicalmodel is defined as “a model of health that emphasizes the linkages andrelationships among multiple factors (or determinants) affecting health,”Institute of Medicine, 2003. Many health related studies have adoptedextensively this model as the backbone of their study operations, execution andresults explanation. This model provides the foundation for understanding the manyfactors affecting behavior and guides the development of initiatives held to influencethe social environment of the individual, social networks/interpersonal,organizational, community and public policy on health behavior.
According to the works of McLeroy et al.(1988), the model has two concepts, 1).Multiple level i.e. behavior affects andis affected by multiple levels of influence; 2). Reciprocal causation i.e.Individual behaviors shapes, and is shaped by, the social environment.
Thismodel has five stages/levels which includes; individual/intrapersonal level,social networks/interpersonal level, organizational level, community and publicpolicy on health behavior. The intrapersonal/individual levelThe person’slevel of literacy on biological and personal history characteristics that makeher susceptible to breast or cervical cancer, increases her health literacyabout breast or cervical cancer disease. Some of these individual factorsincludes age, level of education, occupation, income levels, substance use, andhistory of cancer cases. At this level we are looking onto how individual womenunderstands and belief, and how they interpret the information given to them bythe health workers to date in regard to breast and cervical cancer diagnosis,planned treatment and the educational needs. Interpersonal/socialnetworksThe socialnetworks are the links an individual has in the society that may be of supportin addressing challenges of life. The social networks any person has may, mayincreases her understanding and literacy.
On this, we are looking on how socialsystems may support the woman diagnosed with breast or cervical cancer in undergoingall the intended treatment procedures, clinic follow ups and her social life. Aperson who has had one of her family member diagnosed with breast or cervicalcancers may influence her screening and testing seeking health behavior for herown and the diagnosis. Organizational levelAt this level weare looking at the preventive, diagnostic, health literacy and treatmentactivities implemented at organizational level addressing the breast andcervical cancer. When we say organizational level we are referring to thehealth facilities. The activities that are geared towards facilitatingindividual behavioral change by influencing screening, diagnosis, treatment, referralsand follow ups of the patients. Also the understanding of the clinician inregards to cervical and breast cancer may assist the patient in requesting theright diagnostic procedure and tests.
Community levelThis levelexplores the social cultural beliefs, norms and values that surround thecervical and breast cancers diagnosis, treatment and literacy among thecommunity members. The social cultural norms and values can reflect on how personsin a given society uptake any given health service as reported by Abdikarim K., Atieno M, & Habtu M. (2017). The study established that, cervical cancer screening uptake among young women was affected by the perception that it compromises the virginity which is valued most than testing for cervical cancer.
For this study,we are going to understand how the social cultural beliefs may affect the womendiagnosed with breast or cervical cancers in influencing diagnosis, treatment adherenceand social interactions in the society.Public policy levelPolicies and laws govern accessibility ofhealth care and universal health insurance cover frequently define access tocervical cancer screening, diagnosis, treatment and adherence to intendedtreatment. Cancer being a costly disease to treat and remedy; governmentpolicies design and execution would influence the cancer screening andtreatment.