Consider the story of Laura Sardina presented at the bottom of theses questions when responding to this week’s questions.
- How is Laura’s behavior indicative of role confusion as discussed by Erik Erikson’s model of psychosocial development?
- How are her peer relationships affecting her decisions?
- What risks might she be exposed to as a result of her life choices?
THE STORY OF LAURA SARDINA:
Laura Sardina is 19 years old and is wondering what the future holds for her. She lives with her parents and has a job as a hotel maid, for which she receives the minimum hourly wage. She has frequent arguments with her mother, and both of her parents have encouraged her to get a better paying job so that she can become self-supporting and move out of the house. She realizes that a minimum-wage job will not enable her to live in an apartment, buy a car, buy clothes and food, and have sufficient money for entertainment.
Laura was raised in a middle-class family. Her brother is attending college to become a minister. Religion has always been an important aspect of Laura’s parents’ lives, but not of Laura’s. She detests going to church. Her parents have often called her “stupid” and negatively compared her to her brother, who they believe can do no wrong. This disparagement of Laura has in many ways become a self-fulfilling prophecy. She repeated a grade in elementary school, seldom studied, and often received failing grades.
In school she saw herself as a failure and hung out with other students who viewed themselves as failures. In high school, she frequently skipped school and partied. Eight weeks before graduation, she was expelled for skipping too much school. Her parents and the school system had tried numerous times to motivate Laura to apply herself in school; she even had a number of individual sessions with three different social workers and a psychiatrist.
Laura’s parents are especially irate when she leaves home for three or four days at a time and parties in an abandoned house in the inner city of Milwaukee. She has lied to her parents about her sexual activities, when the truth is she has a variety of partners. Fortunately, she is taking birth control pills. Some of Laura’s male friends are putting pressure on her to become a prostitute so that there will be more money to buy drugs and party. Laura and her friends have had several encounters with the police for shoplifting, running away from home, drinking liquor under age, kicking police officers while being arrested, and driving in high-speed auto chases after radar detected they were speeding.
Laura is asking herself a number of questions: Should she prostitute herself? Or should she stop associating with her friends and try to make peace with her parents by getting a high school education and a better paying job? Whenever she has tried to achieve the middle-class goals of her parents, they have criticized her as being a failure. She wonders, what are her chances of heading in a better direction this time? The one thing she has found enjoyable in life is partying with her friends, but she realizes her friends are getting her in trouble with the police. She is worried that cutting ties with her friends will result in living a life in which she will be continually rejected and put down by others. She wants a better paying job but realizes her chances are not good, especially because she hasn’t completed high school. She wants a one-to-one relationship with a caring male, but because she has a low self-concept, the only thing she feels that males will find attractive about her is sexual intercourse. This is one reason she has had multiple sex partners. She is increasingly concerned that being so sexually active is not right and may result in her acquiring a sexually transmitted disease (such as AIDS). What should she do about all of these concerns? She is deeply perplexed and confused.