Social Work




Inpsychology, the environment is believed to play a big role indetermining people’s behavior. In other words, the environmentdetermines the behavior of individuals’ exhibit in a givenlocation. For instance, if one goes to an environment where otherpeople are quiet one is expected to behave as so. Over the years,several theories have been put across to explain the relationshipbetween the physical environment and human behavior. The behavioralsettings theory asserts that human beings tend to behave in a uniformpattern of behavior in various settings. For example, people inreligious settings behave more or less in the same way than theywould if subject to a different environment. In other words, peoplein places of worship tend to behave in a different way than theywould if they were act in a market for instance. In this essay, theauthor will discuss how the behavioral settings theory influencespeople’s behavior in a mosque. The author will delve into how therelationship between the physical environment affects human behaviorand illustrate how people actions and feelings are affected throughthe behavioral settings theory. The author will also evaluatepeople’s feeling when approaching such places of worship. This isespecially after a report on studies suggested that a majority ofsocial workers in the U.S have some spiritual intervention whiledealing with their clients at work (Senreich,2013).

Iam Muslim woman and though I don’t consider myself to be religiousI usually visit the mosque from time to time in order to get someinspiration and guidance from Allah. I usually visit a nearby mosquewhich is within a walking distance and instead of just driving thereI prefer to walk just to get some good exercise. The mosque is onlyten minutes away from my house and I find the journey to the mosqueto be refreshing every Friday. Our mosque is magnificent, it was wellbuilt with modern architectural finishes and has several stories. Themosque has a library with Islamic books and a place for members ofthe community to hold meetings. The environment at the mosque isserene as it is built miles away from the highway. It is in a quietneighborhood and the noise of car engines is rare. In addition, thewalls in the mosque are sound proof and thus making the environmentthe perfect place for worship.

Severaltheories have been proposed by scientists over the years in anattempt to explain the relationship existing between human behaviorand the physical environment. Various theories have been suggestedbut the most appropriate theory that can be used to explain theuniform behavior of persons when subjected to a given physicalenvironment would be the behavioral settings theory. According to thebehavioral settings theory, uniform and consistent pattern occur inparticular places. The behavior setting theory was developed by RogerBarker in 1968. Baker came up with this theory after establishingthat different people behave in more or less the same way in aparticular setting. He made this discovery after observing thatpeople’s behavior in a given setting was more similar than when thesame person was subjected to a different environment. For example,the behavior of an individual in a mosque is more or less the same asother worshippers at the mosque. In the theory, Baker suggested thatthree characteristics of the behavioral settings theory. Theseinclude: behavioral setting, the program and staffing. Baker was theopinion that behavior is usually tied to a specific place. FirstBaker mentioned that the setting of given place might be so powerfulto suppress individual characteristics or behavior. This is what isregarded as behavioral settings. For example, people are usuallyquiet when they get into the place of worship such as a mosque and soon. Secondly, Baker suggested that programs are developed andmaintained in specific settings. Baker described a program as aprescribed and consistent pattern of behavior exhibited in varioustypes of settings. He gave the example of an individual who attends agrocery store. The first instinct of a shopper is to grab a storecart once somebody makes their way into a grocery store. The shopperthen starts putting items in the cart and check out at the counteronce shopping is completed. Baker notes that behavioral programs arerelated to the individual as well as the nature of their environment.On the other hand, behavioral settings are different in terms oftheir social rules and physical and space features. Recent studieshave been set up to shed more light on the issue of physicalbehavioral settings. In this case, virtual behavior settings such asblogs and chat rooms have been put to the test. Baker’sconceptualization of the theory was static but recent study suggeststhat settings can be altered. For example, the trip to the grocerystore nowadays involves the use of grocery bags and people checkingthemselves out on the counter. Therefore, a change of setting shouldbe an item of discussion. Edward Seidman, a community psychologistsuggests that both individual changes and behavioral setting changesshould be taken into consideration when discussing the behavioralsettings theory. The last concept in behavioral setting is the levelof staffing. Staffing refers to having a good fit between theparticipants and the behavioral program in a setting. Overstaffing orunderstaffing can occur in a given staffing and this might pile upsome pressure on the participants. Large settings tend to excludesome people while small settings put pressure on people to do well.Therefore it is necessary to have a good match on the number ofparticipants with the program setting in order to have efficientsocial work programs.

Iusually visit the mosque on Friday noon and I am usually excited bythe thought of going to the mosque. As I had mentioned earlier I amnot religious but I visit the mosque to worship from time to time. Inreference to the behavioral setting theory, the behavior of theworshippers at the mosque is usually the same. The mood is usuallyquiet and sober from the start of the session till the end of it.Muslims are highly disciplined and follow the law when it comes toattending the mosque. Standard protocol is usually observed inregards to people’s dressing and way of conducting themselves inthe mosque. For example, all worshippers are supposed to enter themosque with no shoes. I am yet to witness a case where a visitor,leave alone any worshipper forgot to take off their shoes at theentrance. In addition, women and men worship in different rooms inthe mosque as required by the laws in Islam. Women are also supposedto dress appropriately in accordance to the laws of Islam such as thewearing of the hijab with the aim of covering a woman’s hair(Graham,Bradshaw, &amp Trew, 2010).

Asa woman and a Muslim, I usually feel comfortable and excited about mytrip to the mosque. I am not a regular attendant of our mosque but Iusually feel relaxed while approaching the mosque. This is becausethe mosque is one of the magnificent structures in our neighborhood.I am always amazed at the size of the structure given that there arenot so many Muslims in our neighborhood. I enjoy the experience ofworshipping with other people who share the same faith as I do. Inaddition, I usually mingle with friends and relatives after thesession and this explains why I am usually excited about visiting themosque. The gates of the mosque are usually guarded just as aprecaution but this does not bother me at all.

Ibelieve that other Muslims share the same feelings or sentimentsabout our mosque. Our mosque is spacious and has a lot of facilitiessuch as a library with books on Islam and every Friday, the mosqueprepares some food for all participants. In my opinion, most peoplelook forward to this setting because of the interaction the peoplehave with their creator as well as their friends and relatives. Inaddition, the mosque was recently constructed and spacious for thecommunity and this offers a new site of attraction for otherworshippers. I believe that most people are comfortable with thesetting and that with no time the mosque will attract moreworshippers. As cited earlier most Muslims are comfortable using thefacilities at our recently established mosque because we are yet towitness or have any cases of indiscipline in the mosque. So far, theresponse from the community has impressive as they have not reportedany cases of either noise or environmental pollution.


Graham,J. R., Bradshaw, C., &amp Trew, J. L. (2010). Culturalconsiderations for social service agenices working with muslimclients. SocialWork, 337-346.

Senreich,E. (2013). An inclusive definition of spirituality in social workeducation and practice. Journalof Education, 548-563.