MOT’s theories

Existing theories that support the MOT philosophy:

Ecological systems theory

The individual and its surroundings affect and interact with each other. All forms of interaction happen as integrated processes in four different systems:

  • Microsystem (e.g. family, school, friends, immediate surroundings)
  • Mesosystem (e.g. relationship between family and school)
  • Exosystem (e.g. parents’ workplace)
  • Macrosystem (e.g. values, traditions, politics, legislation etc. in society)

Social learning theory

Learning by observation and social reinforcement. When youth observe that a desired behaviour leads to positive social reinforcement, it is more likely that they, too, will act that way. Youth make decisions based on social pressure and influence by:

  • Peers
  • Family
  • Media
  • Internal pressure


Belief in one’s abilities to complete the actions required to handle future situations and challenges. Can be strengthened in four ways:

  • Experience. Experiencing mastery is important as it leads to a greater belief in one’s abilities.
  • Role models/modelling. Watching others succeed, it is easier to believe that one can succeed too.
  • Social persuasion. Young people will have more faith in themselves if people who are important to them express their belief in them.
  • Physiological and emotional factors. One’s inner voice affects one’s belief in mastery.