Title: Case study of
2000 words on only one case. Reference list does not count towards wordcount
Choose one case study from the followings for your essay. Individuals in the case study cover a wide range of developmental stages.
Each case study has its own questions that you need to address in the essay to meet the learning outcomes.
You can also use research and theories related to other topics in developmental psychology to apply to the case study in your essay. Please note that there are several key points in the learning outcomes that we would encourage you to address in your essay: aspects of ethics, a lifespan prospective and the impacts of diversity in an individuals development and environment.
Case study 1: Emily aged 14 in secondary school
Case study 2: Shaun an 8-year-old in primary school
Case study 3: Paul a 50 something
Case study 4: Jack and Jessica (siblings aged 9 and 4)
Case study 1: Emily a 14-year-old going through changes
Emily has been a thoughtful and quietly determined child since she was young. She lives with her older brother and her mother and sees her father on some weekends. Ever since she was little, Emily has preferred toys and activities for boys. She spent a lot of time with her older brother and his friends when she was younger in primary school. It has been difficult for Emilys mum to get her to dress like a girl. Emily keeps her hair short and wears trousers or shorts all the time.
Now in year 9, Emily insists that she would like to be called Ed and treated like a boy. She told her mum and teachers that she would like to have gender reassignment procedures when she is old enough. She is undergoing medical and psychological assessments to pursue her wish. She refuses to wear skirt for her school uniform. She wears shirt and tie instead of the regulation blouse. As Emily goes to a girls only school, her wish to be treated like a boy has caused discussions. Ed played piano at a school concert with Ed printed on the programme. When he received his academic awards, it was Emily printed on the certificates. Most of her friends got on with their daily life as usual while some became distant. It took time for people around Emily/Ed to adjust to her/his change. The girls, teachers and some parents initially struggled to use the appropriate pronouns when they talked about her (him?). Some parents felt uncomfortable and expressed concerns to the school. Some girls attend the single sex school for religious reasons. Their parents think Emily should change school if she wants to be treated like a boy. Other parents also worry that she is making a bad example
in school and more girls will copy her behaviour. Eds close friends think these parents are being too narrow minded as we should not be limited by an old fashioned gender binary system.
Potential areas of developmental psychology to apply: gender, identity, emotion, bio/physiological
In your essay on Ed/Emilys case, you need to address the following questions:
1. What are the key developmental issues and processes underlying Ed/Emilys behaviour?
2. How useful are the relevant theories of developmental psychology in explaining Ed/Emilys case?
3. Based on the psychological theories and research you have reviewed in the essay (Questions 1&2), which theory best
explains Ed/Emilys case? (maximum 300 words)
Case study 2: Shaun, an 8 year-old boy having problems at school
Shaun is 8 with a twin sister Alice. Unlike Alice, Shaun has been struggling in school. He is slow compared to most children in his class. His SATs results put him at the bottom of his year group. He found the phonics difficult when he started learning to read in reception and year 1. He is better at reading now even though he often does not remember much of what he has just read. Nor does he understand much of the story. It took him a long time to learn his basic times tables. At 8, he still relies on counting out on his fingers or using objects to help with arithmetic questions. He gets his work mixed up and often hovers from activity to activity and never seems to finish anything. Shauns teachers often find him spacing out on the carpet when the children are instructed on the learning activities. Hes easily distracted and gets frustrated especially with maths. He can be stubborn in insisting on his own view and ideas. It can take some effort to get him to appreciate other peoples different perspective. Shaun used to put his hand up and actively took part in discussion in his reception class. He is very quiet in class in year 3 and rarely volunteers to offer his view during activity. He told his sister he is thick and no good at school work. Shaun sometimes got into scrapes with other boys when they teased him about his learning. He seems fine with other children and is a popular playmate on the playground.
Because his twin is doing well in school, Shauns teachers put his difficulties down to him not interested in school or just not paying enough attention. Some teachers complain that he does not listen to them much and it is always in one hear and out with another with Shaun.
Potential areas of developmental psychology to apply: Working memory, bio/physiological, theory of mind, emotion
In your essay on Shauns case, you need to address the following questions:
1. What are the key developmental issues and processes underlying Shauns behaviour in school?
2. How useful are the relevant theories of developmental psychology in explaining Shauns case?
3. Based on the psychological theories and research you have reviewed in the essay (Questions 1&2), what would you advise Shauns teachers about his learning? (Maximum 300 words)
Case study 3: Paul, 50 something with big changes
Paul is in his early 50s. He used to be a successful sales manager at a local car dealership. He lives with his wife and two grown up sons. He has been affected by illness in the past 18 months so has stopped working due to his frequent stays at the hospital.
Paul used to be very outgoing and sociable. He played football with his mates from work regularly and enjoyed pub quiz with his family over the weekend. He stays at home to recuperate from yet another major operation. He can no longer play football or go out easily without his wifes help. As Pauls wife works full time, he is usually at home by himself. Paul also dislikes asking his wife to help him getting out and about because he is more used to being the tower of strength for his family. He feels distant to his wife whom he met when they were both teenagers. Pauls eldest son is moving in with his girlfriend to a different county. It will take more than 2 hours in the car to visit his sons new place. Paul has been feeling bereft since his son told them about his move and has had a few arguments with his wife because of it. Paul feels conflicted because he does not want his son to move away from them. Sometimes he thinks his son is moving away to avoid seeing him in a pitiful state. Other times, he is proud of his son becoming independent and mature in a stable relationship.
Paul is coming to terms with his early retirement and his wife now being the bread winner. His wife wants him to get out more but he is reluctant about it.
Potential areas of developmental psychology to apply: bio/physiological, gender, identity, emotion, psychosocial development? Adult attachment?
In your essay on Pauls case, you need to address the following questions:
1. What are the key developmental issues and processes underlying Pauls behaviour?
2. How useful are the relevant theories of developmental psychology in explaining the Pauls case?
3. Based on the psychological theories and research you have reviewed in the essay (Questions 1&2), would Paul still feel the way he does if his illness had happened 10 years ago when he was younger?
Case study 4: Jessica a playful 4-year-old and big brother Jack who is 9
Jessica was trying to get her elder brothers attention when he was playing a video game in the living room. Jack was annoyed because he already explained to Jessica this was his only chance to play the game this week after finishing his homework earlier. He thought it was unfair that Jessica always interrupts people craving for their attention, especially when they are absorbed in their work or immersed in focused activities that need a lot of sustained attention. Their mother has explained that Jessica is still young to appreciate not everyone wants to do what she wants to do. But it was still annoying that Jacks only opportunity to play his video game was interrupted.
Because he kept on ignoring her, Jessica got increasingly frustrated and yanked the game console away from Jack. When Jack tried to pull it back from her, Jessica accidently flung it towards the TV in the tussle. It created a long crack across the screen of the familys TV. Jessica panicked and burst into tears because they only just got the new TV. She was very worried about being punished by their parents. Jack tried very hard to console Jessica and told her not to worry since it was an accident and she didnt mean it. Jack was sure when he explained what had happened to their parents, they wouldnt punish Jessica, even though they wouldnt be happy. Jessica still wouldnt stop crying because she knew her parents would see the crack on the TV that was her fault. Jack couldnt help feeling sorry for Jessica.
Potential areas of developmental psychology to apply: theory of mind, emotion, moral development
In your essay on Jacks and Jessicas case, you need to address the following questions:
1. What are the key developmental issues and processes underlying Jacks and Jessicas behaviour?
2. How useful are the relevant theories of developmental psychology in explaining Jacks and Jessicas case?
3. Based on the psychological theories and research you have reviewed in the essay (Questions 1&2), what might explain the developmental differences between Jack and Jessica in this case study? (Max 300 words)