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PSYC FPX 3210 Assessment 3 Meet the Washingtons Case Study


Capella University

PSYC FPX 3210 Human Lifespan Development

Prof. Name



This study explores the theoretical construct of identity within Erickson’s psychosocial development stage framework concerning Kyla’s age. Kyla, the second eldest among four siblings, resides in a household with her parents and grandparents, demonstrating responsibility and helpfulness. While maintaining a close bond with her mother, Kyla’s relationship with her father is marked by contention. She exhibits a keen interest in culinary arts, aspiring to attend culinary school, while holding a negative attitude toward conventional academia. This paper investigates the impact of Kyla’s familial dynamics, social media exposure, and individual traits on her psychosocial development, particularly focusing on self-perception and decision-making. Through an analysis of Kyla’s self-reported sentiments and behaviors, the study aims to comprehend the diverse factors influencing an individual’s psychosocial development.

Keywords: psychosocial development, Erickson’s stages of development, identity formation, idealism, decision-making, self-esteem, family dynamics, community influence, societal factors, adolescent development.

Process of Identity Formation Using the Erickson Psychosocial Development

According to Erickson, adolescents undergo a process of identity formation where they explore various roles, values, and beliefs to establish a stable sense of self. Kyla is currently navigating Erickson’s fifth stage of psychosocial development—identity versus role confusion. This phase challenges individuals to develop a self-concept and discern their place in the world (Gross, 2020). Despite societal expectations favoring traditional academic paths, Kyla’s pursuit of a culinary career suggests progress in her sense of identity. The validation sought from social media attention underscores her external quest for affirmation. Additionally, her distinctive relationships with her parents indicate an effort to carve out her identity independently of familial expectations. Her aversion to traditional academia further reinforces this process. Kyla is on a trajectory of positive psychosocial development, actively engaging in the exploration of roles and interests crucial to this developmental stage. It is essential for her to persist in exploring her values and beliefs while seeking support and guidance throughout this developmental phase.

Brain Development
The cognitive evolution of adolescents like Kyla is influenced by genetic, environmental, and experiential factors. Significant changes occur in the brain during adolescence, especially in regions governing decision-making, impulse control, and emotional regulation. The maturation of the prefrontal cortex and amygdala plays a pivotal role in judgment, impulse control, and emotional stability—key aspects of teenage cognitive development.Clements et al. (2022) highlight the development of the brain’s reward system, driven by dopamine release, which influences behavior and is heightened in adolescents, making them susceptible to pleasurable experiences, including social media attention. Furthermore, the limbic system, responsible for emotional regulation, continues to develop during this stage (Frere et al., 2020). These factors illuminate Kyla’s potential struggles with emotional regulation and susceptibility to environmental influence. Kyla’s brain development is likely shaped by a combination of genetic, environmental, and experiential elements. It is crucial to recognize that brain development continues continuously, reaching full maturity in young adulthood.

PSYC FPX 3210 Assessment 3 Meet the Washingtons Case Study

Ethical Considerations

In conducting assessments or interventions, psychologists must obtain informed consent from Kyla and her parents to ensure understanding and agreement to participate. Maintaining confidentiality is crucial to safeguard Kyla’s privacy. Avoidance of conflicts of interest is imperative, ensuring that interventions align with Kyla’s best interests and are free from personal biases. Psychologists must ensure evidence-based and situation-appropriate interventions, guided by the APA code of ethics, which emphasizes beneficence, non-maleficence, respect for rights and dignity, and responsibility to promote social justice.


The case of Kyla Washington underscores the intricate nature of psychosocial development during adolescence. Utilizing Erickson’s psychosocial development stages and identity theory, this paper has elucidated how familial dynamics, interests, and social media influence shape Kyla’s self-perception and decision-making. Additionally, the discussion on Kyla’s brain development underscores the significant changes during adolescence that impact her behavior. Recognizing the continuous nature of psychological and brain development, ethical considerations are paramount when working with adolescents like Kyla.


Clements, C. C., Ascunce, K., & Nelson, C. A. (2022). In context: A developmental model of reward processing, with implications for autism and sensitive periods. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Frere, P. B., Vetter, N. C., Artiges, E., Filippi, I., Miranda, R., Vulser, H., Paillère-Martinot, M.-L., Ziesch, V., Conrod, P., Cattrell, A., Walter, H., Gallinat, J., Bromberg, U., Jurk, S., Menningen, E., Frouin, V., Papadopoulos Orfanos, D., Stringaris, A., Penttilä, J., & van Noort, B. (2020). Sex effects on structural maturation of the limbic system and outcomes on emotional regulation during adolescence. NeuroImage, 210, 116441.

PSYC FPX 3210 Assessment 3 Meet the Washingtons Case Study

Gross, Y. (2020). Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development. The Wiley Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, 1, 179–184.

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