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
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
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.