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Psychology 230

Developmental Interview

The subject of my developmental interview was a twenty year old female, who
thoroughly illustrated many of the concepts studied this semester during early adulthood,
specifically the social clock and she is undoubtedly in Eriksons theoretical stage of: Intimacy
versus Isolation. (Berk, 2010)
During my interview encounter I learned that she had experienced many things in her
young life that influenced her decisions to this point. Growing up in the military and living
overseas afforded her unique opportunities to travel the world as a young child. She enjoyed
visiting new places and living in Germany for nine years. Socially speaking, she felt for
childhood the military lifestyle put her at somewhat of a disadvantage. Living overseas
presented challenges. Her parents decided for safety reasons to educate at home, and
continued that process even after returning to the states. She graduated two years earlier than
peers her own age. She felt that she missed out on many of the traditional social opportunities
of others her age such as being in a traditional school, close friendships & lasting relationships
as they moved quite often. The common saying Here today gone tomorrow was used to
describe her relationships with others. We spent a great deal of time talking about how that
affected her personally. She mentioned in the interview the duration of a friendship was
never known, and it could be quite painful as a child to make a friend and always say goodbye,
so it became easier to just be lonely. Her hobbies at the time included more self -centered
activities including reading, writing, crocheting, martial arts, and soccer, but she desired more
social interaction.
The military lifestyle also impacted her psychological development. With her father
deployed seven times, and each deployment lasting at least one year, there was considerable
stress in the family. She viewed herself as daddys little girl and at times felt like he abandoned
her. As she grew older, she understood and even began to appreciate what he did for a living,
the time apart also created a close relationship with her mother. She was the oldest child, and
felt an obligation to her mother to take over as the second parent, in her teen years.
Unfortunately, upon her fathers return from his last deployment he was diagnosed with Post
Traumatic Stress Disorder, which brought strain to the entire family situation. This ultimately
resulted in marital affairs by both parents and family discontent.
As we continued to talk, I discovered that she had physical factors that had a profound
impact on the course of her life. The soccer that was a social outlet as a young child, and a
stress relief from a troubled home life, had turned into much more. At fourteen years old she
was selected to be part of the United States Womens Olympic Soccer Team, an amazing
accomplishment. As training began the unthinkable happened, she was injured, and required
to have a surgery that ultimately cost her chance of a lifetime. This event set the stage for a
whirlwind of events. Without soccer, she was not socializing, she was not getting away from the
stress at home, she was not exercising and began to gain weight, and her body image was
deteriorating. Within one year her life had been turned upside down from elation to clinical
depression and bulimia. At fifteen she attempted suicide. Fortunately her parents intervened
and sought help, and today she describes herself as a new person.
The family is currently together but they live with awkward tension on a daily basis,
something she doesnt wish for herself. As she has watched all of this unfold, it has solidified
her desire to push back her social clock and wait to find the right person to settle down with
and to postpone having children until her thirties. She wants to experience life, after watching
what can happen if you marry too young, or make poor choices.
We had the opportunity to spend approximately two hours discussing my subjects life,
thoughts and experiences. She was very relaxed, open, and eager to communicate. With so
much turmoil, I was curious to know why she was willing to share so freely and she replied by
saying only that we all come from different places, have unique things to share, and it can be
therapeutic not to hide behind the skeletons. I found my subject to be a very logical thinker,
she tends to let logic guide her thoughts and emotions a very matter of fact type personality.
For example, my subject is a current nursing student, a classmate of mine. I found it very
interesting to discuss how we both elected nursing. While my decision was a lifelong journey,
one of fulfillment and deep emotional connection, her decision was based on wanting a job
with some authority, to be involved in a job sector that was secure and paid well, but that could
also afford the chance to help out. She was searching for professions based on her abilities
and strengths, another example of logic over emotion. Personally I feel that she is still a bit
guarded from life, still searching, and still learning to be intimate not isolated. I believe
throughout our entire interview a she had genuine desire present to attain financial and
personal independence, find the right person to form a life commitment with and begin a
family. Erikson theory states that an individual in this conflict stage is trying to resolve their
feelings about making a permanent commitment to an intimate partner; and that a secure
identity will foster attainment of intimacy (Berk, 2010). Shes clearly in Eriksons Intimacy versus
Isolation stage of development, by verbalizing to me that she had the desire to find the right
person to spend her life with, and is currently in a relationship but not at the point of long term
commitment. I believe that her past influences and life experiences have pushed her social
clock, or the age grade expectations for life events, back to a point where she is
comfortable, and working to attain independence and vocational choice at her own pace before
commitment (Berk, 2010).
Bibliography
Berk, L. E. (2010). Exploring Lifespan Development. Boston: Pearson Inc, as Ally& Bacon.