Life Span Development and Personality Paper

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Life Span Development and Personality Paper
Sara Jagoda
PSY/300
January 10, 2010
Ron Goodnight

Life Span Development and Personality Paper
Oprah Gail Winfrey was born on January 29, 1954 in a poverty stricken rural area of Mississippi to a single teenage mother. Oprah was moved from Mississippi shortly after she was born and was raised in an inner-city neighborhood in Milwaukee. She experienced severe hardship while she was growing up. Oprah was raped at the age of nine, she became pregnant when she was 14, and her child died while he was an infant. After her son died, Oprah was sent to live with the man she calls her father, a barber in Tennessee. While living in Tennessee, Oprah landed her first job in radio and began co-anchoring the local news. From there, she made her way to who she is now. Oprah has made herself the greatest philanthropist in American history and is considered the most influential woman in the world.

Psychological Developments
Oprah’s psychological development was definitely influenced more by her environment than by her heredity. As a child, she had it rough. Oprah decided at a young age that she would not live the way her mother had. She worked hard to make a name for herself because of her childhood. Oprah’s environment influenced her psychological development by pushing her to have the drive and ambitions to make a difference in the world. Oprah used the area of moral psychological development to achieve her goals. She used the theory of prosocial behavior to make an impact on other people’s lives.

Issues and Social Support System
Oprah faced many family issues as a child that influenced her developmental growth and adjustment. The first issues that influenced her to want to make a difference in people’s lives was being born to a poverty stricken teenage mother. Oprah was conceived due to a single encounter between two teenagers. Once she was born, Oprah’s mother moved her to live in poverty with her grandmother for the first six years of her life. The family was so poor that as a result Oprah had to wear dresses made from potato sacks to school. This, of course, caused many of the local children to ridicule her and make fun of her. When Oprah did not complete her chores or would misbehave, her grandmother would hit her with a switch. When Oprah was six years old, her mother moved away from her grandmother to an inner-city in Milwaukee. Her mother worked long hours and often left Oprah alone for periods of time. She stayed with a few family members during these times. By the time Oprah turned nine, she was being molested by an uncle, a cousin, and a family friend. After years of abuse, Oprah ran away from home at 13 and found herself a mother at the age of 14. Her child died shortly after birth and her frustrated mother sent her to live with her father in Tennessee. He was very strict and one could say that her father was her support system. He made Oprah’s education the number one priority in both of their lives. She received a full scholarship to Tennessee State University where she studied communications and landed her first job working part-time for a radio station. After three years at the radio station, Oprah moved on to be the first black female news anchor for a television station in Nashville. In 1978, she hosted a radio talk show until 1983. On September 8, 1986, the first episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show aired and the rest is history. Oprah has appeared in many films, has written a few books, publishes two magazines, has helpful on-line websites, has a XM Satellite Radio program, and founded the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Oprah has no biological children of her own and chose not to have any because of the way she was mothered. Oprah feels like the 152 girls currently living in her girl’s home are her daughters. All of the issues and events in Oprah’s life shaped her to become who she is.

Theories of Personality...
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