Analysis of Case Study from a Perspective of Human Development

Topics: Erikson's stages of psychosocial development, Erik Erikson, Developmental psychology Pages: 7 (2403 words) Published: December 31, 2010
Analysis of Case Study from a Perspective of Human Development across the Life Span From the angle that the case study has been presented, I as the school’s social worker have been tasked to look into the case of “Yasmin” a previously high achieving student who has recently been scoring low grades and is reportedly moody. We have been informed that she lives with her mother and five other siblings. Their ages were not presented, and as such, we will be conducting this analysis on the assumption that her mother is in her fifties, her eldest brother in his twenties, her elder sister in her late adolescence (17 – 18 yrs), and that her younger siblings are in primary school. Much of our analysis will be based on Erik Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory of Development [1950; 1968]. Analysis & Assessments

Yasmin was “abandoned” by her biological father soon after her birth, at a stage of life where an infant would normally be going through the stage of “Trust VS Mistrust” as defined by Erikson [1950; 1968]. This is generally a period of time where “Caregivers comprise the infant’s main Microsystem [Bronfenbrenner, 1977], and through the nature and quality of their interactions, influence his/her perception and understanding of the world as either safe or fearful”. [Sugarman, 2005] Erikson [1950] mirrors that perspective, and states that the major emphasis for the child is the need for the mother’s positive and loving care, and if this need is not met, the child will move into a state of “Mistrust” where she would develop deep seated self-esteem issues, and a sense that the future may not be as stable as hoped.

With the knowledge that Yasmin’s father abandoned the family at this juncture in time, we may need to make the assumption that Yasmin’s mother may not have been in the right state either mentally or emotionally to care for her newborn child. This coupled with the fact that her mother was the only caregiver present; Yasmin probably did not get adequate attention and care, and may likely have developed a negative self concept, and may harbour an abnormal view of the world. Yasmin’s mother soon remarried, and she gained a new father figure in her life. The support of this new caregiver may explain how she matured into a student who was capable of doing very well in school; her teachers called her “bright”. One may make the assumption that her step-father was supportive and played a huge role in her development bringing security into her insecure world. As such, Yasmin would have probably developed a strong attachment [Bowlby, 1988] to her step-father. At this juncture, she would have been going through what Erikson [1950] defined as the stage of “Autonomy VS Shame”, where her parents being newly married with a new sense of hope would have worked to develop her in terms of right and wrong, giving her the autonomy to make her own decisions. This would have been further reinforced when her younger siblings were born. By then, Yasmin would probably have already transited into what Erikson [1950] defined as the “Play Age”, one of “Initiative VS Guilt”. We can make the assumption that although parental attention would have waned at this juncture, the play and interactions she would have built with her younger siblings would have further strengthened her development. She likely would have been given the opportunity to take the initiative to at times care for her younger siblings, identifying her “social role” as one of the elder sister, further growing her in terms of confidence. However, her step-father’s recent death must have affected her greatly. As earlier stated, she may have likely seen him as the one who brought her out of her “rut”, and was probably very attached to him. His death would have been a huge blow to her, and her deep seated esteem issues from her infancy may have resurfaced.

At this juncture, she would have just entered into adolescence, a period...

References: A. F. Harder, 2002, The developmental stages of Erik Erikson, viewed 20 November, 2010, <>
E. Bronfenbrenner, 1979, The ecology of human development, Cambridge, Harvard University Press.
E. H. Erikson, 1968, Identity: youth and crisis, New York, Norton.
J. Bowlby, 1988, A secure base: parent-child attachment and healthy human development, London, Tavistock.
L. Sugarman, 2005, Life span development: frameworks accounts and strategies - second edition, East Sussex, Psychology Press.
M.E. Lachman, 2004, Development in midlife, Annual review of psychology, Vol.55, 305-331.
Ministry of Education, 2004, Helping students who are at-risk of dropping out stay in school, Singapore.
P. Govindan, 2007, Human behavior - Nanyang Polytechnic lecture notes, Singapore, Nanyang Polytechnic.
Stevens, Richard, 1983, Erik Erikson, an introduction, New York, St
The Straits Times, 2000, The School Pocket Money Fund, Viewed on 22 November, 2010, <>
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