The use Social Action Theory in relationships

Social Action Theory

The social action theory is one of the most important theories that may be used to understand the relationship between individuals and their environment.  While this perspective has been used massively in understanding the interaction and relationship among the various small groups in society, it has also been used to understand the social and environmental factors that create the different subjective states in which individuals get involved. As opposed to the position adopted by the structuralism perspective, this theory sees the environment as the creation of human action.  Social action theory also involves an evaluation of the goal-oriented endeavours of humans. In this evaluation, the two ways through which the environment may lead to the development of self-debilitating habits are revealed. Most importantly, the theory also reveals a pathway that may be used by people who live in stressful environments to develop resilience and cope, thereby preventing the environment from having adverse effects on them.

Agonistic striving, dissipated thriving and transcendence thriving

In social action theory, agonistic striving refers to a situation where an individual seeks to control other people so as to suit their circumstances. For example, when an individual is under stress, he may want to compel other people to stay with him so that he may feel valued and get comfort (DiClemente et al., 2009). On the other side, transcendence striving refers to a situation where individuals make efforts to change their lives or the circumstances of one’s life. In this instance, it is evident that rather than looking at solutions to their problems elsewhere, they make efforts to change the course of their lives and in the process change their circumstances(DiClemente et al., 2009). Most importantly, the transcendence thriving involves a situation where individuals make efforts to improve their capabilities and as a result, make sure that they are properly equipped to improve the quality of their lives. On the other hand, a dissipated striving refers to a situation where an individual drops long term goals and that will, in the long run, lead to the failure to strive. When individuals consistently experience failures and frustrations in their pursuit of long term goals, they will give up and drop the idea altogether vs.

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A life situation

There was a time when I ventured I agriculture. I had carried out market research, and I identified how this venture was going to be profitable to me. I borrowed some money from a financial organization and pumped it into the venture. For two harvesting seasons, the harvests were minimal, and the returns were insufficient to help me settle the loan. It was not long before frustration and stress ensued. This situation took me through the circle of agonistic striving, transcendence striving and finally to dissipated striving. The resulting stress and trauma were far-reaching.

Was your goal-oriented behaviour, that is, health promotion, easy to achieve for you?

From the beginning, the goal appeared achievable. I had carried out my market research, and I made sure that I had all the plans in place. With all the resources in place, the goal appeared easy to achieve.

What advice would you give to someone who may want to follow your footpath?

The advice that I would give to anybody who would like to follow my footprints is nothing is certain, even when it appears as if all the factors are favourable and conducive. Thus, it is necessary for individuals to make sure that they keep watch of the environment and change accordingly.

What are the strengths and limitations of the SAT from your experience?

The primary strength of the SAT is that it enables an individual to have a critical understanding of the environment. The decisions that an individual makes are based on the observation of the environment. The limitation, however, is that it creates an opportunity for an individual’s biased tendencies to influence decision-making.


DiClemente, R. J., Crosby, R. A., &Kegler, M. C. (Eds.). (2009). Emerging theories in health promotion practice and research. John Wiley & Sons.

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