The Moore Family Term Papers Examples

Type of paper: Term Paper

Topic: Family, Parents, Adolescence, Identity, Development, Psychology, Childhood, Alcoholism

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/11/04


Derrick Moore is a 15 year old boy who was adopted by a biracial couple when he was a two year old toddler. His father, Ed, is African-American and his mother, Jessica, is Anglo-American. The relationship between his parents has not been good for a few years and Derrick’s brother Terrence attempted suicide so Ed and Jessica contacted family services for support in solving their family and marital problems.
1. The main concern is that his father is going out to drink alcohol regularly. Ed does not consider himself an alcoholic, but his behavior is very troubling. Ed is using alcohol to deal with stress of family problems, a son who attempted suicide and a possible loss of job. Derrick needs a role model of a healthier way to handle stress than drinking and the denial of Ed about his drinking is problematic. Derrick’s mom, Jessica is experiencing menopause which makes her less available to him. Derrick’s half-sister is Debbie and is not living in the same house but stays with the family off and on and visits at least once a week. The household is not in a consistent routine, because of his father’s drinking and his sisters visits are not on a schedule.
Derrick’s brother’s attempted suicide may lead to depression for Derrick, but research shows that copying the suicide attempt is unlikely (Gentry and Campbell, 2000). The parents argue about Terrence because Ed thinks Jessica is too easy on him and blames Jessica for Terrence’s emotional problems, while at the same time both parents think that Derrick is close to perfect. Derrick is about three years older than Terrence. Derrick’s parents put a lot of pressure on Derrick to be the good son; because they describe him as their pride and joy, a good student are very proud that he is never in trouble.
Resilience theory using longitudinal studies to learn more about a human’s capacity for resistance to psychopathologies suggests that many factors act protectively (Smith-Osborne, 2007, p. 155). A number of protective factors are working in Derrick’s favor. He is part of an intact family where both parents are very proud of him and think of him as their own biological son. Both parents hold a similar expectation for Derrick which is a “benchmark of perceived environmental consistency” (Hill, Allemand, Grob, Peng, Maorgenthaler, & Kappler, 2013, p. 415). Both parents agree that Derrick will be told that he is adopted when he reaches the age of 18 that is something they both agree on. Interestingly, is old enough to have figured out that since he is African-American and his mom is Anglo that he is likely to have been adopted. Derrick has also experienced long periods of time during his childhood when the family routinely went to church each week and Ed was not drinking. The fact that the parents came to counseling together and want to work out all the problems is a good family feature.
2 An important developmental feature at Derrick’s age is forming his personal identity. The psychoanalyst Erickson’s view on human psychological development was that life “unfolds from a part to whole” and adolescence is a process of creating an identity (Smith-Osborne, 2007, p. 155). Erikson’s theory describes forming an identity during adolescence as the main task young people must accomplish. The biological aspects related to Derrick’s age are his development through puberty to reach sexual maturity. Erikson (and others) point out that gender, race and culture have an influence on development but that “intrapsychic and biological factors, including IQ” are more important (Smith-Osborne, 2007, p. 155). Interestingly, Derrick is going through puberty and his mother is experiencing menopause, so two people in the family are going through significant life stages at the same time. Resiliency theory adopts Erikson’s views, and can avoid biases that enter into therapy due to a client’s gender, culture or class (Smith-Osborne, 2007).
During adolescence youths are influenced by comments other make about them and the comments may become integrated with how they feel about themselves and with their self-identity. Derrick is at the age when he will (if he has not already) start ‘trying out’ identities; searching for the one he feels is his best fit. Early adolescent development tends to be physical, whereas middle-stage adolescent development is characterized by wanting to fit into peer groups (Gentry & Campbell, 2002). The tension in middle-stage adolescence is between the desire to be accepted by peers and the desire to establish a self-identity.
Identity commitment takes place over time and is partially influenced by consistency in daily life, but also contains the need for some flexibility because of our constantly changing environment. A sense of authenticity is the part of identity that allows a young person to behave in the same way with school peers as with family and across other relationship types. Environmental control is when the adolescents feel they are in a predictable environment so they know how to react to changes, and they are able to gain confidence for reaching their goals. Gaining a sense of identity is difficult when the significant people in their lives have different expectations.
The three elements of identity commitment described above were researched during a one year study of adolescents and compared with the Big Five personality traits. The Big Five personality traits are extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism and openness (Hill et al., 2013). The research results showed that a young person that feels authentic, has a perception that they have some control over their environment and receive a similar message about expectations from significant others display “positive personality levels” (Hill et al., 2013, p. 418). And the three identity features correlated with the Big Five personality traits to show positive personality growth or changes. In other studies, the three personality traits showing the highest positive correlations with identity development are “extraversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness” (Hill et al., 2013, p. 414).
Authenticity can be identified when an adolescent is comfortable and willing to share their opinions and views. If the adolescent is not willing to share views and opinions, then the risk or likelihood of depression are higher. Environmental control is identified as know what to expect because their home life is predictable, self-confidence in being able to deal with change when it does occur, and self-assurance in carrying out the activities necessary to meet personal goals. The factor of similar expectations between significant others is highly important for healthy development. If parents or other significant others have very different expectations, the adolescent can become emotionally unstable (neurotic) and show poor coping skills. The young person may not be easy to be around, because they have not learned to be agreeable due to the tug-and-pull tensions across relationships.
Derrick is at some risk due to the number of arguments his parents have over a variety of subjects. On the other hand, he is protected by the agreement both his parents demonstrate on their expectations for him to stay out of trouble and do well in school. He also had several years of experience when his father was not drinking and family activities were more predictable. The example of going to church every Sunday is an indicator of the routine. He also has not had to change schools or move to new houses as his family is established in the community.


Gentry, J.H.& Campbell, M. (2002). ). A reference for professionals: Developing adolescents. American Psychological Association, 1-47.
Hill, P.L., Allemand, M., Grob, S.Z., Peng, A., Maorgenthaler, C. & Kappler, C. (2013). Longitudinal relations between personality traits of identity formation during adolescence. Journal of Adolescence, 36, 413-421.
Smith-Osborne, A. (2007). Life span and resiliency theory: A critical review. Advances in Social Work, 152-168.

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