Life Span Case Study Project
Life Span Case Study Project
Part One: Case Background
For the purpose of this assignment, I assessed the life experiences of Tom. Tom is 68 years old, and he is my father’s old acquaintance and a family friend. Tom was born in Cambridge, Boston, where he lived early in his life. Currently, Tom resides in Austin Texas where he lives with his elderly wife. Tom and his wife live alone in a house which they own. From time to time, their host their children and grandchildren who come to see them from time to time. Tom and his wife are both retired, and they rely on pension for their day-to-day expenses. Tom’s former occupation was that of a doctor. He spent the better part of his life working as a health provider. His area of specialization was paediatrics, meaning that he helped treat and manage medical issues affecting children, infants, and young people. Tom is still married to his wife, Alyssa. Tom and his wife have three children, namely June (37), Peter (32) and Shawn (25). Additionally, they have two grandchildren, namely Chantelle (9) and Bambi (5).
Part Two Topical Investigation
Tom described his relationships as genuine, uncomplicated, strong, sincere, steadfast and unbounded. Tom mentioned that he had learned an important lesson; that one does not need many friends, just enough. He said that he has strong ties with the people dear to him and that he has had the same friends for the last four decades. He mentioned that he is picky with the people that he invites into his life as friends. His circle of friends is small but functional. He said that his friendships changed drastically over the years. Being an outgoing person meant that he met many people in his lifetime. At one point, he had the habit of mistaking acquaintances for friends. He thought his work colleagues were his friends, but he learned the importance of keeping personal life separate from professional life. Notably, Tom mentioned that he realized that he needed more friends than enemies as he grew older. Tom said that working as a young adult was easier than during the middle and older ages. He said that he had a lot of excitement and energy as a young adult that comes with holding an entry-level position. He had goals he wanted to accomplish, and his eyes were set on the prize. He was very dedicated to his career. He would show up to work two hours before the recommended time and he did not mind working overtime. However, he mentions that as he grew, the energy reduced and excitement died down. His work seemed very easy in old age because he had gained years of experience in the field. He, however, struggled with deadlines as his pace reduced significantly.
Tom reported that over the years, his stress levels have changed. As a young adult, he had high-stress levels because he was worried about many things. He had just begun to build a career and was worried about making ends meet and starting a family. The anxiety levels reduced over the years as he grew old. Today, he has low-stress levels since he is retired, and he does not worry about bills since he owns a house, his children are grown, and he has a pension. Tom’s highest educational achievement was graduating with a Masters in Pediatrics and Child Health from Miami University. This achievement was a defining moment in his life because it helped him grow both professionally and as a person. To date, it is among the proudest moments in his life. Tom coped with stress over the years by talking to a professional therapist and confiding in his life partner. His occupation was not easy, he constantly had to deal with sick patients every day, and this seemed to take a toll on his life. Seeing a therapist helped him overcome challenges he went through both professionally and as a person. Tom reported that his romantic relationships have gotten better over the years. He married his wife at 28 years and has since spent 39 years with her. Each day their relationship keeps changing for the better. Tom mentioned that he has a strong relationship with his parents and siblings. Although they live in different states, they talk every day and see each other from time to time. Tom’s personality has remained the same over the years. Nothing much has changed. Tom is still the loving, compassionate and self-respecting individual he was 40 years ago. Tom’s level of intelligence has improved over the years. As they say, with age comes experience. His experiences as a paediatrician have groomed him into the intelligent older adult he is today. His area of expertise is paediatrics. He specialized in treating diseases in children and infants. Tom speaks Spanish as a second language, which helped him communicate with his patients during his time as a doctor. Over the years, Tom has improved morally. He has taken up virtues that he did not have while growing up. Tom has learned to be resilient, honest, and always do good. Tom has improved emotionally over the years. Initially, Tom was soft-hearted, and he would tear over the slightest issues, but his career as a doctor taught him to be strong emotionally. Tom describes his mental health as stable. He struggled to get where he is, but his mental health is good currently. Tom’s self-esteem has improved over the years. He was not always the confident individual we see, but after years of working on himself, he is confident, and his self-esteem skyrocketed.
Without a doubt, Tom has encountered discrimination because of his Hispanic roots. Growing up, he was picked on in school, and people would tease him because of his accent. He eventually overcame the discrimination and did not encounter it much as an adult. His life is better or nearly the same as theirs compared to his peers. Some are doing better than him, while others are doing worse-off. Tom is grateful that he has a house and a pension, and he does not have to live in shelters or facilities for the older people at his age. Tom’s life was not particularly impacted by any historical event except the covid-19 pandemic. Over the years, Tom’s memory abilities have gotten better. His brain is more alert than before, even in old age. Tom physical health is doing well. He works out every day and eats healthy. Besides his walking pace reducing, Tom’s physical health could not be at a better place. Tom’s relationship with his children and grandchildren has improved for the better. He has strong bonds with his three children, and he keeps in regular contact with them. Tom’s diet has improved over the years. He eats healthy foods and exercises regularly to keep fit. Tom’s greatest accomplishment is his family. He mentioned that family is life greatest gift and his family is his reason for being. He said that there is nothing left for him to accomplish in life because he is happy with what he has achieved over the years. He advised that to live a happy and healthy life, one of the secrets is beginning early to take care of their health. He also noted that walking one’s path, making every moment count, and most importantly, letting and living will go a long way in attaining a happy life.
Part 3: Theories
Two theories that apply to the case of Tom are Erik Erikson’s and Sigmund Freud’s theories of development. Erik Erikson was a theorist that modified Freud’s psychosexual theory by dividing it into eight stages. Each stage describes two conflicting ideas that a person goes through to become a valuable member of society. According to this theory, human beings go through eight developmental stages in their lifetime, starting with infancy to late adulthood. According to Erikson, the eight stages of development include trust vs. mistrust, autonomy vs. doubt, initiative vs. guilt, industry vs. inferiority, identity vs. role confusion, intimacy vs. isolation, generativity vs. stagnation, and integrity vs. despair (Erskine, 2019). Successfully completing the task at each stage leads to a healthy personality and competence, while failure to complete the tasks translates into inadequacy. The eight-stage, dubbed integrity vs despair, most applies to Tom’s case. This stage starts when an individual is in their mid-60s and lasts until they die. Erikson opined that individuals in late adulthood often look back at their lives and either feel a sense of failure or satisfaction and their life choices inform this. A person who feels proud of their accomplishments and life choices has a sense of integrity and has little or no regrets. On the other hand, people who do not have accomplishments feel as if they have wasted their lives (Maree, 2021). They tend to focus on how things could have and should have been. They approach the end of life with despair, bitterness, and depression. In this case, Tom said that there is nothing more that he feels he ought to have accomplished. Tom does not have any regrets in his life. He attained all the goals that he had set for his life, that is why he feels happy and fulfilled.
Moreover, Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytic personality theory also applies to the case of Tom. Freud argues that human behavior results from interactions between the id, ego, and superego (Gumiandari, & Nafi’a, 2019). Freud posited that personality develops from childhood and is shaped in a series of five psychosexual stages, which he referred to as the psychosexual theory of development. The id seeks instant gratification of basic physical urges and needs and operates outside of conscious thought. The superego pays attention to morals and social rules. The ego is the pragmatic and ration structure of human personality. The ego is partly unconscious, partly conscious and less primitive than the id (Jenkins, 2017). This theory applies to the case of Tom in various ways. Tom mentioned that over the years, he learned that colleagues are not friends. He was in the habit of letting colleagues into his personal life. However, he realized that having a few friends is better than having many friends. As a young adult, he wanted to make friends (id), and he did not want to lose them (superego). However, he quickly realized that although he craved friends, he had to select them carefully (ego).
Part 4: Summary
In closing, Tom lived a fulfilled and happy life. One can tell that he had carefully planned his life. Tom is a hardworking and principled man who prioritizes his goals. Family is the one thing that is very important to Tom. He has maintained solid and functional relationships with his wife, children and grandchildren. He had a fulfilling career that he loved and held for over four decades. He made sure to prepare for late adulthood by buying a house to retire With his wife. Tom’s lifespan is in line with the personality development theories. He grew up and went through internal struggles that shaped his life. Tom’s life is cynical. He ended up right where he started. He always wished to retire with his life and lead a stress-free life as he enjoys his pension. From this interview, I have learned many lessons about the importance of walking one’s own path and making every moment count because one is not young forever.
Erskine, R. G. (2019). Child development in integrative psychotherapy: Erik Erikson’s first three stages. International Journal of Integrative Psychotherapy, 10, 11-34.
Gumiandari, S., & Nafi’a, I. (2019). Gender bias constructed in Freud’s concept on human psycho-sexual development (an analytical study based on Islamic psychological analysis). Palastren Journal Studi Gender, 12(1), 211-256.
Jenkins, W. J. (2017). An analysis of Sigmund Freud’s interpretation of dreams. Macat Library.
Maree, J. G. (2021). The psychosocial development theory of Erik Erikson: critical overview. Early Child Development and Care, 191(7-8), 1107-1121.