Intra- and Interpersonal Causes of Mental Disorder


Psychological disorders may occur and develop under the influence of a variety of different reasons. Theresa Jones has a mental disorder that might be caused by several factors, including intrapersonal issues, interpersonal issues, and environmental factors. The case vignette provides an opportunity to analyze events from the patient’s life and build a connection between her life circumstances and her mental state. Thus, the influence of various issues and individual characteristics are important to consider when analyzing mental disorders.

Interpersonal Issues

The term interpersonal relationship refers to the patient’s social and emotional interactions with others in the environment. Almost all mental illnesses are associated with difficulties in this area. The presence of mental illness is often the root cause of conflict with others. Family, social, professional, religious, and sexual relationships are some of the most common areas of disagreement. Relationships with spouses and other relatives are part of the family. Peer relationships also play a big role in a patient’s mental health. Patients are usually unaware of the association between symptoms and peer conflict, especially if the current illness is psychophysiological (Chang et al., 2021). Patients may inadvertently refuse to notice such a connection, fearing that exploring the problem will lead to the couple’s failure. As was mentioned in the vignette of Theresa Jones’ case, her husband has left her because of her behavior. That could bring an adverse effect on her emotional conditions. In addition, Theresa stopped seeing her friends, which also had a negative impact on her state because she did not experience human interaction and did not receive support from the surrounding people.

Work can be one of the main interpersonal issues, as work is almost universally associated with stress. Paid employment is important for people in modern society and its absence is most often accompanied by emotional confusion and loss of self-esteem (Chang et al., 2021). Theresa Jones had lost her job as a bookkeeper, which caused additional stress for her. Many people are so emotionally involved in their work that they are unaware of the potential negative effects of long or busy schedules on their family ties.

Intrapersonal Issues

Anxiety, despair, and various self-destructive habits are all signs of conflict within an unresolved individual. An individual’s inner beliefs or qualities are called personal protective factors. Resilience is the ability, process, or result of successfully adapting to a major functional or developmental task (Chang et al., 2021). Individuals with a high level of resilience are more likely to be able to deal with difficult and difficult situations. They are able to deeply participate in the work of one’s life to devote themselves and view the crisis as an opportunity for growth. These traits are often related to how people perceive and respond to potential pressures from major intrapersonal issues. However, if a person does not have strong resilience, it may lead to the occurrence of different mental disorders. It is likely that Theresa Jones does not possess resilience abilities since she could not handle to continue working, could not eat, and spent most of her time sleeping.

Environmental Aspects

People, the environment, and the interactions between them all play a role in behavior. Therefore, when a person’s environment is not very comfortable, he or she begins to behave unfavorably, which manifests itself as stress. This is caused by adverse environmental conditions that affect the normal functioning of humans and is considered a current and future problem (Chang et al., 2021). In urban environments, the following unpleasant situations occur more often. Pollution, overcrowding, noise, extreme temperatures, etc., cause people to behave indifferently—daily problems, which refer to everyday events that can cause frustration and discomfort and, thus, influence coping patterns. Physical confusion, limited social connections, and mental illness are all common signs of stress caused by the metropolitan environment.

Ecological Perspective

Traditional psychological models of mental health have been criticized for focusing solely on human psychological issues without considering environmental or social issues. On the other hand, from an ecological point of view, people and their living environment are viewed as a single system, focusing on the interrelationships between many social, cultural and political contexts (Chang et al., 2021). This view is based on two important concepts: First and foremost, it is crucial to be aware of the patient, their social environment, and all the interrelationships between them. Second, researchers use different levels of analysis to study interactions between hazards and protective factors at many social-environmental levels, including family, peers, schools, communities, and other social levels.

A conceptual framework for investigating individual environmental exchanges that affect patients’ well-being in social instability can be constructed by adopting an ecological approach. This paradigm is used to investigate the direct and moderate impact of various intra-individual, interpersonal, and community protective variables on the association of stress and mental health as a result of different life events (Chang et al., 2021). Such aspects as life events, life objectives, resilience, social support, coalition social capital, recognized community empowerment, and public involvement in the spirit are considered while using ecological perspectives.


In conclusion, mental disorders are caused and influenced by a number of different intrapersonal and interpersonal issues. Such factors as peer relationships, level of social communication, work, and level of resilience affect a person’s mental state. Thus, when there are issues in relationships or problems with self-understanding, one could start to experience anxiety, stress, and depression. Environmental factors also play an important role in forming a person’s emotional state. Thus, if there are many environmental factors that are stressful for an individual, it may result in mental disorders and their development.


Chang, C. W., To, S. M., Chan, W. C. H., & Fong, A. C. P. (2021). The Influence of intrapersonal, interpersonal, and community protective factors on Hong Kong adolescents’ stress arising from political life events and their mental health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(18), 9426. Web.

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