Case Study: Early Adult
For this Paper, I had the opportunity to interview my subject, whose name and other indicative details I have sworn not to disclose. For this paper, we were made to choose a particular age group as our target subject for the study. As I am quite fascinated and interested in the development of an early adult individual, I chose the particular age group of the early adults. This is why naturally, the purpose of my interview with my subject, who I shall refer to as “Antonia” (not her real name) from this point on, is to try to evaluate her development as an early adult through the results of the interview. The evaluation shall showcase the application of the theories that were learned in class. In addition, the evaluation afforded me the opportunity and the venue where I can apply the theories that were learned in class.
Antonia is a 26 year-old Filipina, who has been staying in the United States of America for around two years already. She has a Bachelor Degree in Business Administration and Accountancy from a reputable University in the Philippines. She recently passed the qualifying exams for accountants in the U.S.A.
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I met Antonia through a common friend. I thought that she would be a very interesting subject for the study as she is of a different cultural background and heritage. Of course, there were other individuals with diverse cultural backgrounds whom I know, but the difference with her is that she grew up in a totally different environment, let alone a different continent.
II. Antonia’s Development
For the analysis of Antonia’s development, I will be using three theories. The first theory is the Social Learning Theory by Albert Bandura. The second theory is the Ethology and Evolutionary Development Psychology, which takes its roots from Charles Darwin’s thoughts The third theory is the Sociocultural Theory by Lev Vygotsky.
Social Learning Theory
One of the most famous theorists for the Social Learning Theory is Albert Bandura. The stress of the social learning theory is the principle of conditioning. Through this principle, theorists seek to examine how behaviorism shapes social behavior (Berk, 2007, p. 18). The recent revision of Albert Bandura’s theory formulated the social-cognitive theory in this wise:
…children gradually become more selective in what they imitate. From watching others engage in self-praise and self-blame and through feedback about the worth of their own actions, children develop personal standards for behavior and a sense of self-efficacy – the belief that their own abilities and characteristics will help them succeed (Berk, 2007, p. 18).
In simpler terms, this is what the theory means. The theory means a person adapts what he/she sees from his/her environment. And for a child, he/she adapts what he/she sees in his/her parents, as they are his/her immediate environment. This is the simple formulation of the theory. What is being furthered is that there is a revised version of this theory, such that a person does not automatically adapt what he/she sees such that the person first evaluates whether or not he/she wants to adapt what is being done, taking into consideration the apparent consequences.
For me the first notation of the theory can be used for a much younger age group as infants as their cognitive development is still not as further and complex as those of older groups.
This is why I believe that the revised version is what is applicable to the early adult age group, and very much with Antonia’s case.
During the interview, I asked Antonia this question, and she answered in the following wise:
17. What would you say were the major influences in your development?
I think that books and television were the major influences in my development. I cannot say that these were my parents because I do not think that they were major influences in my development. Although they have influenced me, their influences are minor and if at all, their influence is in a sense of avoidance. This means that who and what I want to become is not who and what they have become. In short, I am avoiding turning out like them.
From the above, it is apparent that a case of socio-cognitive theory is in place in the case of Antonia. It is actually a case of reverse socio-cognitive theory. This is because in her case, she specifically chose not to adapt what she saw in her parents. She saw in such an apparent fashion the consequences of her parents’ act such that this led her to automatically shun adapting what they did.
For Antonia, while her parents experience pointed to one direction, which under the theory should be the one adapted even after careful and cognitive analysis, she goes or aims to go to the opposite direction.
In her case, the cognition aspect of the socio-cognitive theory has led her to decide to altogether abandon adapting what her parents showed her. So that at the end of the day, she ultimately does not mimic or copy what they did; she instead exerts earnest and conscious effort not to mimic and copy what they did.
While I wanted to push Antonia to disclose the very particular decision or action of her parents that she did not want to mimic, I did not want to make her feel uncomfortable. I also did not want to pressure her knowing that she has exerted quite some effort to convey her thoughts to an almost stranger.
From my interview with Antonia, I can say that the she takes very seriously the mistakes of her parents. While she does not say anything to her parents about it, as she is the reserved and quiet daughter, she keeps track of all material events in her head. She processes all of these cognitively and sort of makes a mental note that indicates silent alarms or red flags when she starts going the directions that she seeks to avoid.
Ethology and Evolutionary Development Psychology
It is because of the above negative experience with her parents that Antonia is pushing for a certain scheme of behavior that will allow her to survive in this world.
The above-mentioned theory can be explained clearly with the following example:
…of baby birds, such as geese, that ensures that the young will stay close to the mother and be fed and protected from danger. Imprinting takes place during an early, restricted period of development. If the mother goose is absent during this time but an object resembling her in important features is present, young goslings may imprint on it instead (Berk, 2007, p. 22).
As Antonia’s father was rarely around as he worked overseas and as her mother was too stern a disciplinarian, Antonia was looking for a role model or for a person to whom she can look up to it; and at least some one who will be caring and soft enough to show her affection. This may be why she turned to books and television shows. She turned into heroes and heroines in the novels that she read and television shows that she watches.
She told me during one of our interview breaks that she liked and enjoyed watching family-oriented television shows and love-story themed books.
From this, I posit that she is really looking for a soft-spoken and kind-hearted figure with whom she could cuddle up with. It may be that because her father was away and that her mother had to play the bad guy and exercise a disciplining arm, there was no such figure in her life.
This is why she turns to her books and her television shows for such character; thus imprinting takes place.
As she really did not have a real person to be sweet and thoughtful to, she grew up with very reserved emotions. It was very rare that she expressed in black and white what she felt. It was easy for her to express anger but it was difficult for her to express glee, joy, happiness and sweetness. This may also be the factor why she started dating late in her life. This may also be the factor why she did not have such intimate relationships until later on.
Surely, the void that was created by the absence of her father and by the fact that her mother had to play the role of the father took its toll on her as an emotionally developed person.
The reason as I mentioned earlier, on why I chose Antonia as my subject, is because of her diverse cultural background. Antonia has a diverse cultural background and she spent most of her life being raised in such diverse cultural background. I wanted to see how her culture affected how she is a person and how she developed as an adult in her early years.
Vygotsky believes that:
[s]ocial interaction – in particular, cooperative dialogues with more knowledgeable members of society – is necessary for children to acquire the ways of thinking and behaving the way that make up a community’s culture…as adults and more expert peers help children master culturally meaningful activities, communication between them becomes part of children’s thinking. As children internalize the essential features of these dialogues, they can use the language within them to guide their own thought and actions and to acquire new skills (Berk, 2007, p. 23).
My interview with Antonia reveals how her culture and her interaction with other Filipinos while she was growing up in her country, helped shape her to become the individual that she is today.
She tells me that life in the province then was very simple, laid-back and relaxed. I have observed these attributes from Antonia despite the fact that the interview does not reflect the same. This observation is my personal observation from Antonia’s demeanor during the interview.
Despite the constant barrages of personal questions, Antonia was always calm from the outside, although she would tell me for so many times how panicky she felt deep inside. Her panic, so to speak, never manifested. I would not have realized that she was panicking had she not informed me that she was feeling the same.
It was like she had this thick shell around her which made it quite impossible for anyone to see what she was feeling inside. For me, it was in part a contribution of her upbringing in the province in the Philippines, where life was calm and laid back. I also believe that it was in part a contribution of her personality development through her interactions with her loved ones, most especially her parents.
Antonia was also very strong and driven. I take this aspect of her character as an aspect that was shaped with the fact that she grew in the province. As she relayed in the interview, there was a time when she could remember that the basic necessities, that we have and take for granted here – electricity and telephone lines were not even available where she lived; and despite their absence, it did not matter to her. She still grew up to be a normal individual who was very responsible and who did well in school.
I think it is because Antonia was brought up with an attitude that never takes for granted what they have and appreciates the blessings that come her way that she is as driven as she is at present.
My last observation with respect to this theory is the fact that as her father left their own country to seek better opportunities for the sake of their family, Antonia is doing the same. She tells me during the latter part of the interview that she is torn between the idea of going back to her country and to pursuing her goals in the U.S.A. She tells me in the end though that for the meantime, her resolve is to stay in the U.S.A. and pursue her career for her sake and for her family’s sake.
I know a lot of other Filipinos, and I think this is a very key characteristic in their personality development with respect to their culture. They all want to strive and aim for the better opportunities no matter how difficult the road toward success may be. They do no mind being away from their comfort zones for as long as they are assured of a better future.
In this wise, there is a sense of responsibility that is imbued in every individual through their culture. As Antonio has pointed out, it was not easy growing up, which is why their drive is really to aim for what will make their lives better. And in this sense, for me, this is a key concept in their cultural development.
It is quite obvious from above that there were various factors that shaped Antonia as an early adult. Her development was evaluated through three theories — Social Learning Theory by Albert Bandura, Ethology and Evolutionary Development Psychology, which takes its roots from Charles Darwin’s thoughts and the Sociocultural Theory by Lev Vygotsky. At the end of the day, it is really a combination of a lot of factors and a lot of theories. Most of it was brought about by her immediate environment; as parts of it were brought about by her environment in general – culture, and the place where she grew up in.
I am thankful to Antonia for giving me the opportunity to interview her and to showcase her in my study. I have learned a lot from this exercise especially with the opportunity that I was given in order that I may apply what I have learned inside the classroom to a venue beyond its four walls.
Atkinson, et al. (1996). Hilgard’s Introduction to Psychology (12th ed). Philadelphia: Harcourt Brace & Company.
Berk, Laura E. (2007). Development and the Lifespan (4th ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn and Bacon.
Questions and Answers
The matters written below are obtained from an interview of the subject on 29 February 2008. This is a transcription of my handwritten notes during the interview as the subject objected to having the interview audio or video recorded.
1. Age, marital status, family, personality, ethnic background, religion, interests, background.
The subject is 26 years old and single. She lives with relatives in the United States of America. She went to the U.S.A. two years ago to seek better job opportunities. She is a Filipino. Both her parents are Filipinos. Her immediate family members are still living in the Philippines. She is the first of two siblings. Her younger sister is at present in her junior year in college.
The subject as her family members and relatives are, is a member of the Roman Catholic Church. She studied in a Catholic grade school and an all-girls Catholic high school. In short, she was raised in a Roman Catholic environment.
The subject enjoys reading books and online shopping. Presently, she remarks that catching up with friends and family from her home country is her main interest. She also at present is enjoying visiting the different states in the U.S.A.
The subject is very quiet, shy and reserved. It took a lot of coaxing before she allowed me to interview her let alone to use her as my subject for this paper. In addition, I had to visit the subject’s home for a lot of times first in order that she warm up to me and in order for her to ease into comfort for relaying her story to me.
2. What do you remember about the first few years of your life?
I remember living in my grandparent’s house in the province, with my other cousins. My mother and I stayed in a room on the second floor of the ancestral house.
As the province then was still underdeveloped, I can still remember how the roads were not yet cemented, how the television sets were mostly black and white; that I have to go to my cousin’s house to watch my favorite cartoons in color and to play Mario Brothers in color.
3. What did your family tell you about what life was like in those years?
My mom would tell me how life then was simple and yet was filled with a lot of changes. That was when the province was undergoing modernization. I know you will not believe this, but my mom said that not all houses in the province had electricity or telephone lines. In fact, then we did not have our very own telephone line. In order for us to take a call or make a call, we had to go to what you know as the town square and go to a special store that offered such services.
4. Would you tell me more about your family at that time?
My father did not live with us as he was abroad working for different aviation companies. There were times that he was in the Middle East. There were also times that he was in the United States of America. In other words, he was all over the world. We get to see him at least once for a month in a year. At a very young age, I was really good at writing by hand letters to my dad. During those days, as I have mentioned, there were no phone lines near our house so we mostly relied on letters. And during those days, snail mail was literally and figuratively as slow as snails, so we had to wait weeks even months before we can hear from my father. There were occasional phone calls but as phone lines were very rare, they were also very expensive. I could still vividly recall my mom telling the operator, “[p]hone call for two minutes only.” Then, after two minutes the operator will cut the conversation unless my mom requests for an extension. She was careful not to enjoy the conversations with my dad too much because that means longer time over the phone, which would entail larger bills to pay.
5. What did they say about what you were like as a baby?
My mom said that I was very quiet and reserved. I rarely go out and play with my cousins and neighbors. I mostly play by myself, read books or watch television by myself.
6. What can you remember about your preschool years? Do you have pictures?
I remember my classmates and how much fun we had playing together. Yes I have pictures but they are all in my house in the Philippines. My very distinct memory was related to a plush bulldog bag that my mom bought me. While I was playing with my classmates, the bag fell off my lap and into the murky waters of a ditch inside my school. When I went home, my mom was so angry at me that she told me that since my bag was too dirty to be used the next day, I will be using a grocery bag for my books the next day.
7. Where did you live?
I lived in Bulacan. It is a province in Central Luzon in the Philippines.
8. What did you like to play?
I liked to play “house” and any other game, which I can play by myself. I also liked playing Super Mario Brothers in the Family Computer.
9. Who were your playmates?
My playmates were my cousins as they were the kids from next-door.
10. What is your earliest memory?
My earliest memory was my stay in my grandparent’s house, together with all the events that took place during my stay. I lived in that house until I was seven years old.
11. What meaning does the memory have for you?
Whenever I recall such memory, I relive the feeling of a worry-free life.
12. What were you like during the elementary school years, grades 1-8?
I was a very smart and bright student, modesty aside. I was almost always on top of my class. I was also very studious and I pride in the fact that I always get high marks. I was very participative in school.
13. Would you describe what your life was like?
My life was simple. I was studying most of the time.
14. Who did you spend most of your time with?
I spent most of my time with my mom and my sister. I spent most of my time at home.
15. How did your parents treat you?
As my dad was rarely around, he treated me like a baby whenever he would come home. As my mom was the only parent left at home, she was the disciplinarian.
16. What form of discipline did you use in your house?
As my mom was the only parent left at home, she was the disciplinarian. Any incorrect deed merits the necessary punishment. In the Philippines, corporal punishment is not prohibited. So there were times when my sister and I will get occasional physical punishments for certain misdeeds. I honestly had a hard time processing in my head why that should be the method for disciplining us when our misdeeds were never discussed so that we could find out what it is exactly that we did wrong. It was later that I realized that it was an affirmation on the part of my mom, for herself, that she was in control of the family despite my father’s absence. But despite this, I still feel at present, that there could have been other ways and methods.
17. What would you say were the major influences in your development?
I think that books and television were the major influences in my development. I cannot say that these were my parents because I do not think that they were major influences in my development. Although they have influenced me, their influence are minor and if at all, their influence is in a sense of avoidance. This means that who and what I want to become is not who and what they have become. In short, I am avoiding turning out like them.
18. What values were you taught?
My parents taught me responsibility and hard work. Honesty was taught as an aside.
19. What was school like?
School was my haven because it was a place where was my best and I was one of the best. This is why school was never tough for me.
20. What were relationships like between different races or religions then?
I grew up with people who are of the same race and religion, as I studied in a provincial Roman Catholic school.
21. What were you taught about the appropriate roles for men and women?
I was taught that men and women were equal. I was taught that despite the societal rules that each play, either may reach for their individual dreams for his/her self-fulfillment.
22. Who were your role models or whom did you want to grow up to be like?
It used to be my dad but now, he is not my role model anymore. The reason is because when I was a kid, I sort of placed him on top of a pedestal and tailored his personality into an ideal and perfect father and husband. But as I grew older and wiser, I realized that I was too idealistic, even too naïve to put him in a pedestal. There are things that were hidden to me when I was younger that I was able to discover later on. This changed my view about him. At present, I do not have a role model. I just strive to be the best that I can be in the best way I know I can achieve the same.
23. Would you describe yourself as a teenager?
I was still very quiet and reserved. I was almost a loner. I was an introvert and I preferred spending time by myself, reading or writing on my journal. I was also very reflective. I was also very much filled with angst.
24. What were the major influences in your life?
The books that I read really were the major influences in my life.
25. Did you go to high school?
Yes I went to high school.
26. What was it like?
It was the same as grade school. It was not tough for me. I enjoyed going to school and I was always up for the challenge.
27. What did you study?
I studied Math, Science, English, History, etc., the usual subjects taken up in high school.
28. Did you work as a teenager?
No, I did not work as a teenager. But I was a scholar for the whole of high school. I just had to maintain my grade and my ranking in order to retain the grant.
29. What type of work did you do?
30. How did this affect your life?
31. How much did you earn?
32. Was that a good salary back then?
33. Did you date or marry during your teens?
I started dating during my late teens when I was already in college. I was never serious about dating. I just went on dates because friends set me up with their other friends, and I am too shy to refuse the same. I was quite lazy to date around as I enjoyed the freedom of being single and as I dread the normal first dates. I feel that first dates are very tiring and routinary. If I like the person, then I like the person. If I do not, how can I get out of hours of agony on a first date with that person? I did not marry as a teen nor am I married at present.
34, Did you live at home?
I lived at home until high school.
35. At what age did you move out?
I moved out during college because my school was in the capital of the Philippines, which was around two to three hours from my house. However, at this point, my parents were still supporting me. During those times, I go home during the weekends.
36. Where did you go?
I moved to a place that is nearer my school, in terms of time and distance.
37. Describe yourself now. What are you like as a person now?
I am very responsible and I have my goals set before me. I started working towards my career goals a few years ago as it was only then that I finished my studies. I am still a bit reserved but I have learned to slowly interact and socialize with people around me.
38. Describe your physical (biosocial development).
What do you mean physical development? Well, I can say that all my physical senses are functioning the way that they should function. Also, I developed physically in the same manner or path that other Filipinas or Asian’s developed – with the same height and built.
39. Describe your cognitive development.
What do you mean cognitive development? Intellectual development? I can say that I was a very fast learner and I pick up instructions really quickly. I can also memorize details easily. With this, I can say that I developed well cognitively.
40. Describe your psychological (psychosocial development).
What do you mean by psychosocial development? You mean my interaction with other people and with other members of society? I can say that this is the weakest aspect of my personality. I find it hard to open up to others. Also, I do not easily interact and blend with the crowd. I have difficulty adjusting to different situations and circumstances such that I have always said that flexibility is my most elusive value.
41. How has being away from your family affected you as a person?
It made me appreciate the times that I spent with them. If before, we spend or waste time arguing over little things, I make it a point at present that if and when I have conversations with my parents or my sister, we do not have arguments and only speak of pleasant and positive things. Being away, made me realize how time is very precious, which is why it should be spent wisely.
42. Do you think that you will have a role model in the near future?
Maybe, I am really not sure.
43. In relation to the question above, who is most likely to become a role model for you?
It can be someone from work or someone I know on a personal level. If ever I will have a role model, I think my role model will be a lot of persons or they will be role models. It may be that I obtain various and different aspects from a variety of people.
44. How has being away from home developed you as a person?
I can say that I am a more responsible person at present because this is the first time that I was truly away in all aspects from my family. I am truly and in every essence living on my own.
45. Do you plan on staying in the U.S.A. for long?
I honestly do not know. There is a part of my self that wants to stay because of all the opportunities with my work at present. But there is also a part of me that wants to go back to the Philippines as I miss my family dearly. Mostly though, I want to stay because I have my eyes set on my goal. This is what I want to do at this point in my life and while opportunities are knocking on my doorsteps.