Neuroplasticity, Psychosocial Genomics, and the Biopsychosocial Paradigm in the 21st Century
The biopsychosocial perspective is a foundation of social work theory and practice. Recent research on neuroplasticity and psychosocial genomics lends compelling support to this perspective by elucidating mechanisms through which psychosocial forces shape neurobiology. Investigations of neuroplasticity demonstrate that the adult brain can continue to form novel neural connections and grow new neurons in response to learning or training even into old age. These findings are complemented by the contributions of psychosocial genomics, a field of scientific inquiry that explores the modulating effects of experience on gene expression. Findings from these new sciences provide external validation for the biopsychosocial perspective and offer important insights into the manifold means by which socioenvironmental experiences influence neurobiological structure and function across the life course.
Garland, E.L. & Howard, M.O. (2009). Neuroplasticity, Psychosocial Genomics, and the Biopsychosocial Paradigm in the 21st Century, Health & Social Work, 34(3), pp. 191–199.