Challenges to Implementation

As the social ecological model is a theory based framework, of course there can be some complications and challenges when trying to effectively use this model. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines theory as, “a plausible or scientifically acceptable general principle or body of principles offered to explain phenomena.” It is not based off of facts, not opinions, but just a general acceptance that it works. This can be challenging. Just because something works at one point in time, doesn’t mean it will always work again in the future. The main issue with implementation would most likely be encountered if one failed to spark change on the very first level, the individual level. This is the level that interventions of this model begin with, the level that has to do with an individual’s thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and attitudes.

We can typically only move onto the next level, the interpersonal/relationship level, if this one has been effectively completed. For example, there was a study done on the 2009 H1N1 Influenza vaccine uptake. Researchers were able to conclude that all levels of the social ecological model were important to whether or not someone got the vaccine, but the individual, interpersonal\ and community levels had the greatest effect. Since every level in the model begins with the individual, and the individual is intertwined with all the other levels, this proves that if the individual level is not effective, the rest will not be (Kumar, et al., 2011).

If people’s mindset could change about the vaccination and whether or not it was truly effective and harmless, then one could continue to go on through the next levels of the model, however, if those individual mindset could not be changed, it wouldn’t matter what laws were made on the policy level, or the support that they could have received within the interpersonal or community levels. That individual would not be affected by any other efforts, until the thought of the vaccination in their head was corrected. This proves to be the greatest implication within using the method causing it to be difficult to further carry out and be effective.