Originally published in 1983, this clear-sighted study built an understanding of what human behaviour meant at the time: an understanding which can still be of practical use for those who work with people in their everyday lives today. The various influences on the individual are carefully examined, with theoretical approaches from different standpoints considered in relation to one another, from the development of the personality and behaviour patterns to the effect of family and social life, culminating in the picture of a ‘whole’, responsive person. Relationships are seen to be important, and this is reflected in the selection of material. Ford argues that it is the social worker’s role to offer guidance relating to the nature and quality of an individual’s interaction with society, and that this can be done more effectively if there is a practical understanding of how this interaction evolves. Examples of social work practice are given throughout to show how such understandings may be used.