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Case Study Analysis; Anna

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Anna’s Case study Analysis

Alina P. Halonen

Capella University

February 11, 2016


Early Childhood Case Study Analysis


Anna is a nine-year-old Caucasian female who is currently attending the third grade in public school. Anna lives in an apartment with her mother Karen and her little brother John. Karen is divorced, single and is currently pregnant with her third child from her previous marriage to Frank, Anna's stepfather. She is suffering from addiction to shopping. Frank the stepfather to Anna only assumed the role of a father to Anna for the duration of his marriage to Anna's mother, Karen. Frank reviled to Anna that he is not her biological father after he was directed to pay child support. However, Karen still chooses to tell Anna otherwise. Due to the pressures of high academic performance expectations in school and pressures at home, Anna is having a hard time at school resulting in poor academic performance, no friendships and her behavior is irregular. Anna’s grandfather from her mother’s side and Anna’s biological father Walter, both suffered from alcoholism. Walter abandoned Anna after divorcing her mother, Karen. The paper will discuss challenges and primary issues, related to lifespan development theory, and research-based alternatives that explain the presenting challenges related to Anna’s case. The case study will also describe the potential impact of individual and cultural differences in development relevant to Anna's age. Suggestions regarding the proper intervention for Anna and her family members will be included at the end.


             At this time, Anna's primary challenges include Anna’s biological father and grandfather both were alcoholics. For this reason, Anna is predisposed to becoming an alcoholic or a substance abuser herself. According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, Research shows that genes are responsible for about half of the risk for alcoholism (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2008). Anna's environment is very limiting. Anna's mother is not feeling physically well and is going through financial hardship, living in poverty. The school Anna currently attends has high academic achievement standards. According to the case study, Anna is struggling to achieve the academic standard and has fallen one full grade behind. Anna also has challenges with her behavior and often comes off as shy or overly affectionate towards her peers and adults. Due to such drastic behavioral and mood changes, Anna has challenges with building successful interpersonal relationships with other children and adults. Karen, Anna's mother, is limited in her ability to guide and help Anna with her school due to her limited amount of education personally. The loss and lack of the father figure in Anna’s life presents a challenge as well.

Lifespan Development Theory

        “ Lifespan development theories address the impressive ability of individuals to optimize their development across the lifespan through the use of three central processes of developmental regulation: goal engagement, goal disengagement, and meta-regulation" (Villarreal, B., & Heckhausen, J. 2015).

             The three relevant theories to Anna’s case include Piaget’s cognitive stages of development, Erikson’s psychosocial stages of development, and Bronfenbrenner’s bioecological theory. Piaget’s cognitive stages of development; “is a blueprint that describes the stages of normal intellectual development, from infancy through adulthood. This includes thought, judgment, and knowledge” (WebMD, 2005). The four stages include sensorimotor,-preoperational,-concrete operational,-and formal operational stages.

            Anna’s biological parents Walter and Karen divorced after Anna was born (Broderick, 2015). During this time, Anna was in sensorimotor stage. This stage occurs from birth through ages 18-24 months. At this point Anna's ability to understand and process information is limited, and she is only aware of the things that are right in front of her and will not have recollection or memories of this time. The second stage is the preoperational stage. This stage occurs during toddler years through age seven. Frank, Anna's stepfather and Karen Anna's mother, divorced when Anna was seven. During this stage, Anna has already developed the ability to memorize, however still lacks the capacity to be completely logical, and thinking is based mainly on child's intuition. Frank expressed to Anna that he is not her biological father. The absence of both fathers biological and step can cause feeling of confusion for Anna, furthermore ;” In reference to the general population individuals raised in a father-absent environment demonstrate; 5 times the average suicide rate, dramatically increased rates of depression and anxiety, 32 times the average rate of incarceration, decreased education levels and increased drop-out rates, and consistently lower average income levels, lower job security, increased rates of divorce and relationship issues, substantially increased rates of substance abuse: and increases in social and mental behavioral issues” (Thurston, J. 2016). If Anna chooses to believe Frank that he is not her biological father, Anna will start viewing her mother as a liar and develop negative thoughts and not trust her mother.

“Urie Bronfenbrenner (1917-2005) developed the ecological systems theory to explain how everything in a child and the child's environment affects how a child grows and develops” (Oswalt & Goodman, 2008).The main four aspects that influence Anna's development include microsystem, mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem.

Anna’s microsystem is the small immediate environment that she lives in and individuals that she comes in contact with, in this case, her family and her peers at school. The negative interaction between the adults in the family will have an effect on how Anna will grow up. A child at this age needs nourishment and encouragement especially from her mother, Karen. Anna's interaction with her family will affect her temperament in a negative way. The next stage is Anna's mesosystem; Karen, Anna's mother is not able to offer Anna the support that she needs, emotionally or educationally due to the lack of having a strong educational background. Anna is having problems at school, and Karen should be more involved, for example by attending parent-teacher conferences and discussing possible options with teachers. Karen's focus must shift from her addiction to shopping, to Anna and helping her with the issues she is having academically and emotionally. Anna needs her mother to teach her proper coping techniques to deal with her current environment. The final level is Anna's macrosystem; Anna lives in an apartment, currently with two other people and a third of the way. The family is challenged financially and has debt. Karen must stop overspending the finances that she needs. She must pay off her debt and better her financial situation. By doing so, she can help to teach her children how to be financially responsible and debt-free, and furthermore, offering them a better quality of life.



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