In each of these periods, psychological development continues as individuals wrestle with themes of intimacy, family, and meaning-making. Mental health and substance use become concerns in cases of accumulated stress and unresolved trauma. And for some, middle adulthood brings a crisis in which they question and reassess their lives.

This week, you examine the social environment’s impact on psychological functioning through a case study involving a military veteran. You also look closely at the phenomenon of the midlife crisis and how you might work with adult clients in this situation.

Learning Objectives

Students will:


Analyze the effects of the social environment on psychological functioning in young adulthood

Apply psychoeducation to social work practice with clients and families

Identify community resources for mental health

Compare characteristics of a midlife crisis across genders

Evaluate strategies for helping clients through midlife crises


Discussion 1: Mental Health and the Family

The unique pressures of young and middle adulthood—financial and career ambitions, building a family, caring for older relatives—can contribute to mental health and substance use issues. It is important to remember that these issues affect not only the individual but also loved ones living in the same home such as partners and children.


In cases of mental health and substance use, social workers can use psychoeducation with family members to provide information about a mental health issue and treatment. When using this intervention, social workers must adapt it to the specific family members, accommodating their cognitive level and age.


For this Discussion, you analyze a case in which a returning soldier, who is also a husband and father, experiences mental health symptoms resulting from combat.


To Prepare:

Review the Learning Resources on psychological aspects of young and middle adulthood, psychoeducation, and military populations.

Access the Social Work Case Studies media and navigate to Marcus.

As you explore Marcus’s case, consider the ways in which the social environment, including the trauma he has experienced, has impacted Marcus’s psychological functioning.




By Day 3

Post an analysis of how the social environment has contributed to Marcus’s psychological functioning. In what ways has trauma impacted Marcus’s daily functioning?

 Describe how you as the social worker would integrate elements of psychoeducation with Marcus and his family.

 How would you adapt psychoeducation for the cognitive level of the family member?