Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model for Mental Care

In nursing, theories play an important role, showing what has already been achieved, and what kind of work must be done. Dorothy Johnson is one of the prominent nursing theorists, whose behavioral system model is frequently implemented in various clinical and healthcare settings. In this paper, Johnson’s theory will be discussed as a helpful method of care for patients with mental diseases.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

Johnson aims at viewing a human behavioral system within one particular environment. People consist of biological (medicine focus) and behavioral (nursing focus) systems (Fawcett, 2017; Ghanbari & Pouy, 2018). Her model suggests that the prevention of illnesses is possible through effective behavioral functioning (Masters, 2015). The peculiar feature of this model is a unique combination of nursing, body systems, and human development (Holaday, 2015). Nurses are able to define patients’ behavioral norms through the prism of eight subsystems, including attachment, dependency, achievement, as well as ingestive, restorative eliminative, sexual, and aggressive behaviors (Raingruber, 2017). Nursing is symbolic guidance for patients and their families in their intentions to make correct medical decisions and prevent health problems and complications.

I think that this theory is not an ordinary list of standards used for discussing nursing, health, patients, and the environment. It is a chance to look at people and understand what behaviors may promote health and what solutions may cause harm. As a rule, patients expect from nurses specialized care and treatment. Not much attention is paid to the behavior of patients. Johnson tries to correct this shortage and explains that a proper understanding of the psychological level of human behavior promotes stable social relations, health progress, and development of health care.

Johnson’s model can be utilized in practice in different ways. Nurses learn how to communicate with patients and their families to recognize ordinary behaviors and decision-making. However, it is necessary to remember that special attention should be paid to an individual but not to a family or community (Raingruber, 2017). Nurses should assess the patient’s behavior by obtaining information about past experiences, habits, and needs. Behavioral patterns are used to define the actual level of health (Masters, 2015). The balance between a patient’s behavior and the environment should be achieved.

For example, a patient visits a hospital with the chief complaint of weight change and frequent shortness of breath. He reports on some changes at work and the cases of depression. However, at home, he seems to behave the same way. The behavioral system model can be used in communication with family members and the assessment of his behavior at home from the point of view of aggression or ingestive habits. The information about his frequent food intake observed by his wife and not reported by the patient can be a serious cause of his disease.

In general, I find Johnson’s behavioral systems model helpful in nursing and medicine. It can be used by nurses to gather more information about patients and expand possible diagnostic options. I would like to say that I agree with the chosen theorist and her vision of nursing, patients, health, and the environment. On the one hand, this theory supports the idea of progress and health improvement all the time. On the other hand, it contains several standards and subsystems with the help of which nurses can offer care to their patients and communicate with family members.


Fawcett, J. (2017). Applying conceptual models of nursing: Quality improvement, research, and practice. New York, NY: Springer.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

Ghanbari, A., & Pouy, S. (2018). Designing nursing care program based on Johnson’s behavioral model in children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia: A case study. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 11(1), 631-638.

Holaday, B. (2015). Dorothy Johnson’s behavioral system model and its applications. In M. C. Smith & M. E. Parker (Eds.), Nursing theories and nursing practice (4th ed.) (pp. 89-104). Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis Company.

Masters, K. (2015). Nursing theories: A framework for professional practice (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Raingruber, B. (2017). Contemporary health promotion in nursing practice (2nd ed.). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Print Сite this

Cite this paper

Select style


StudyCorgi. (2020, December 27). Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model for Mental Care. Retrieved from

Work Cited

"Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model for Mental Care." StudyCorgi, 27 Dec. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model for Mental Care." December 27, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model for Mental Care." December 27, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model for Mental Care." December 27, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Dorothy Johnson’s Behavioral System Model for Mental Care'. 27 December.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.