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Social Problem – Definition – Analysis And Reflection Assignment Help

Write a short paper (maximum three pages, double spaced) analyzing the definition of social problems in the United States. Consider using a specific social problem (such as mental illness, family structure, youth violence, hunger or food insecurity, or one of the areas of focus from Glassner) as a foundation for your paper.

In your paper:

Define and discuss social definitions of social problems in the United States.

What are the claims (the assumptions, evidence, and conclusions) about social problems and the impact of marginalized populations on society?

Who or what makes or shapes these claims?

What does social opinion suggest as methods to reduce, prevent, or remedy social problems and who should do it?

What philosophies or beliefs about what society should do versus what individuals should do drive the practice of social work around identified social problems and marginalized populations?

How are disadvantage, discrimination, and risk for marginalization dealt with?

Provide an example of how society has defined a "social problem" compared to how social work research and practice defines the issue (examples: suicide and depression, or chronic pain and addiction).

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Social problems can be defined as particular conditions and behaviours existing in the community where in considerable number of people in the community will be facing a problem.  Social problem will be having both a subjective as well an objective component too.  It can be a condition or a behaviour which do have negative consequences and needs to be addressed for the sake of welfare of all concerned. Typical issues like racism, ethnism, gender bias etc all fall in the category of social problems in general.  One of the key consideration in this regard is the existence of objective information in this regard, like when a condition or behaviour need to be considered as a social problem, it is very much required for the same to possess objectivity, which mean that there should be definite implications of the same to the community and specifically it is required for the same to yield negative consequences. Subjective component of the definition consists in recognizing the existence of the social problem and also it is required to possess provision to set them right by modifying the condition or the behaviour. 

Assumptions, Evidence and Conclusion:


Social problems are different from personal problems. All personal problems and issues cannot be considered as social problems, however it is natural that social issue and personal problems do have correlation and social issues and social problems do represent collective woes of the large number of individuals.  Also there is nothing like universality in social problems. A social problem today may not be a problems some other day. Also a social problem of United States today may be not a social problem in some other region. Social problems are concerned as social in the sense that they are concerned with more number of people and they are of much wider and breadth than a personal issues and individual problems. Further social constructionist attitude (Loseke, 2017) makes up a key distinction in the perception of a social problem from a personal cause. Social causes are prominent in making up the causes for the social problems and there is also acceptance of the fact that the perspectives in the society do vary and the social problems and perceptions and their differentiation in opinions make it a complex phenomena in addressing the social problems.


Diverse social problems are evident in United States culture; typical examples of the same may include substance abuse, homelessness, domestic violence (Berns, 2017), unemployment, gender and racial discrimination etc. The causes of the same lies in the social structure and historical progression of the country. There is subjective evidence to the fact that most of the causes of these issues can be effectively removed off from the system. At the same time perception is also diverse for social problems, for example substance abuse is considered normal and culturally acceptable in some communities in United States and not so in other places, hence the problem may need different interventions to eliminate these concerns. 


Social problems does have both the subjective and objective components that do make them unique and the social constructionism and diverse insights into the same create a framework for possible remedification of the same, the principles of habitualization, institutionalization and sedimentation can be applied for eliminating the social problem from community.

Claims and shaping

Marginalized populations of society are some of the key concern areas of the society that normally are the targets of the social problems. Oppressed members of such marginalized communities do make up the voice of the social problems and the claims based on critical evaluation of the issue will be made by the society and public organizations. They do shape the claims and facilitates development of a framework to address these concerns.

Agents responsible for remedifcation

Social opinions propose government and public actions to remedify the problem; however, I personally believe there is no any common solution to all social problems, the remedy and procedure to be applied for rectification of these social problems need to be as per case to case basis. At community level, low level social problems can be remedified by appropriate actions from the community. However large scale social problems need specialized interventions. Social problems like domestic violence, substance abuse, child abuse etc can be remedified by interventions of the social welfare organizations and self help groups etc. However much complex and large scale problems like unemployment and racial discrimination etc need government policies and legislatory involvement to rectify the same.  Society is responsible for reducing, preventing and remedifying the social problems, by society it means the government, the governance structure, general public including the marginalized communities as well(Leon Guererro, 2018). 

Theories supporting the social problems

At individual levels the change can be materialized by variety of individual level theories like social cognitive theory, the transtheoritical model/stages of change, the theory of planned behaviour etc. These theories will formulate the foundation for changes at individual level (Turner, 2017). At community level, theories like structural functionalism, conflict theory and symbolic interactionism makes up the theories of concern for the said changes at community level. However the key foundations that drive the social change models are mainly based on systems theory and conception of the same as applicable to society. Every stakeholder in the society will be made responsible and will be considered as a significant member of the society in resolving the social problems. The responsibilities on part of the individuals, families, communities and public evolve from this concept and integration of the same with the social problem framework.

Disadvantage, Discrimination and Risk

Disadvantage, discrimination and risk for marginalization have to be dealt with legislation and supported by governance models for upliftment. An example of such marginalized social problem slavery (Davis, 2015), which is once a serious social problem in United States and got effectively removed. 

Intervention models

An individual level problem need not be a social as long as it is concerned with only such individual. If it is concerned with more number of people and collectively, then public or community level interventions might be needed, giving it a proportion of social problem. For example depression or suicidal tendencies in an individual due to personal reasons can be just an individual level problem, however if it is a social concern and if people at large are facing this due to collective social causes like depression due to racial discrimination and disadvantange, then it is a social concern and social problem. Social work(Howe,2017) considers them too at the accordingly, suicide and depression will be dealt as social problems if the concerns and causes are at social level, same time domestic violence is though an individual level problem, due to prevalence of the same in society, social workers do deal them as social problems, 

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