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Case Study of Human Development

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Human Development

Jeremey Jackson

University of Southern Maine

HRD200J: Human Growth and Development

Summer I 2011

Instructor: Julie Zink, Ph.D.

June 12, 2011


Jamie is a 20-year-old African American female currently enrolled in college. She is enrolled as a full time student at SELU. She lives in apartment close to campus and she is on her on far away from home. She is in the Later Adolescence stage of development and is dealing with several different life issues. These are the issues I will be speaking on from Erikson theory of stages of development covering the entire human life span. Trust versus mistrust, autonomy versus shame and doubt, initiative versus guilt, industry versus inferiority, identity versus role confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus stagnation.

While physical maturation was going on Anne had problems with severe acne and had no real growth spurt. To this day she remains only five feet tall. Her development of formal operations came at a normal rate for adolescence. However, during these years her emotional development led to a bout of depression. She did not have many friends and would therefore sit home lonely many nights. She had a difficult time finding a peer group to fit into. Once she found a group of friends to join she started dating. Anne became sexually involved with her first boyfriend and became pregnant. She decided that it would be best to terminate the pregnancy and continue on with school. According to Erikson (1994), "During this stage, often called the Latency, we are capable of learning, creating and accomplishing numerous new skills and knowledge, thus developing a sense of industry. This is also a very social stage of development and if we experience unresolved feelings of inadequacy and inferiority among our peers, we can have serious problems in terms of competence and self-esteem" (School Age: 6 to 12 Years).

The psychosocial crisis for this life stage is group identity versus alienation. Anne started this stage alienated from society. She did not have any real friends and was often by herself. Toward the end of this stage she began to identify with a group of people who became her friends. Because she had been alienated from society previously she fell prey to peer pressure in order to remain a member of the group. She was pressured into having sex, which led to the pregnancy. All of these factors led to the core pathology of dissociation. She has trouble keeping friends and is not completely comfortable dating.

Currently Anne is in the Later Adolescence stage of development. She is learning to be out on her own for the first time in her life. Because she is away at school she does not have the guidance that her parents once gave her. She has to make decisions about her life and life choices. According Erikson (1994), "Our task is to discover who we are as individuals separate from our family of origin and as members of a wider society. Unfortunately for those around us, in this process many of us go into a period of withdrawing from responsibilities, which Erikson called a "moratorium." And if we are unsuccessful in navigating this stage, we will experience role confusion and upheaval" (Adolescence: 12 to 18 Years). So far she has not had much success in making these choices. She almost decided to quit school and move in with her boyfriend. This poor planning has left her very behind in school making her have to attend for an extra year in order to graduate. She also decided that it was all right to smoke marijuana. This led to problems with the law, which is not good considering that she is a criminal justice major. Next year she will be moving into an apartment and will have to work in order to support herself. This is another step toward autonomy from her parents.

Anne is figuring out the different aspects of her gender identity. She is taking on new life roles everyday. She must balance her time between being a student, friend, co-worker, lover, all the while making the transition from child to adult.



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