SOCW 6060 Week 8 Discussion Gaps In The Life Model

Discussion: 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.

To prepare:


Using an example from your fieldwork experience (correctional center) 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.

Respond To Two Colleagues:

  • Identify other potential gaps in the life model as applied to the population your colleague identified. 
  • Offer another potential theory for filling the gaps of the life model when working with the population identified.


I am currently conducting my internship at Project Amistad, a nonprofit organization that serves as a guardian for elders and adults with disabilities. According to Project Amistad (n.d.), the mission of the organization is to support elderly individuals, people with disabilities, and individuals who are at risk (Project Amistad, n.d.). The organization has been helping seniors improve their quality of life since 1976. Currently, elders in the 23 counties in West Texas can qualify for services offered by Project Amistad (Project Amistad, n.d.). 

The organization supports its clients by providing guardianship, money management, and transportation services. Elderly guardianship is a legal relationship between a client and a person or organization or between the state and an agency when a client is no longer able to take care of himself or herself (Moir, Stewart, Reynald, & Hart, 2017; Tanga, 2013). The assigned guardian ensures elders are taking their medication, receiving personal hygiene, attending doctors’ appointments, picking up their prescriptions, and receiving support with other activities of daily living (ADL) (Moir et al., 2017).

SAMPLE – Applying The Life Model To Adult With Disabilities

The life model can be applied to this specific population by improving the level of fit between people’s perceived needs, capacities, and aspirations and their environmental supports and resources. According to Turner (2017), the direct practice level of the life model improves a person’s ability to manage stressor(s) through more effective personal and situational appraisals and behavioral skills. 

The life model can influence the social and physical environment to be more responsive to the needs of people with disabilities; therefore, improving the quality of life for people affected by disabilities. A social worker can work with those who have a physical and mental disability by helping the individual change their perceptions, cognitions, feelings, or behaviors towards their disabilities.

Gaps when Applying the Life Model

People with disabilities have been oppressed, ridiculed, and mistreated to the point that many of them have lost the willingness to advocate for themselves. The gaps within the life model are related to the fact that people with disabilities might not be willing or able to change their perceptions, thoughts, feelings, or behaviors about their limitations. A theory that may be helpful with the gaps is the resilience theory. 

The resilience theory can empower people to see possibilities or alternatives as opposed to seeing obstacles; it also increases hopes and aspirations about clients’ potential. (Cramm, Norris, Venedam, & Tam-Seto, 2018). Another important component of the resilience theory is that it encourages individuals to ‘bounce back’ from their adverse situations. Combining the life model with the resiliency theory might be an effective approach to empower people with disabilities.


  • Council on Social Work Education. (2008). Articulation of learning agreements in social work. Retrieved from
  • Cramm, H., Norris, D., Venedam, S., & Tam-Seto, L. (2018). Toward a model of military family resiliency: A narrative review. Journal of Family Theory & Review, 10, 620-640. doi:10.1111/jftr.12284
  • Moir, E., Stewart, A., Reynald, D. M., & Hart, T. C. (2017). Guardianship in action (GIA) within Brisbane suburbs. Criminal Justice Review, 42(3), 254-269. doi:10.1177/0734016817724199
  • Project Amistad. (n.d.). Mission statement. Retrieved from
  • Tanga, P. T. (2013). The challenges of social work field training in Lesotho. Social Work Education, 32(2), 157-178. doi:10.1080/02615479.2012.741578
  • Turner, F. J. (Ed.). (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.