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Analyze developmental stages in adolescents

Analyze developmental stages in adolescents

Analyze developmental stages in adolescents

Week 4: Assessment of Adolescents
Adolescence is often one of the most difficult stages individuals experience in their lives. Think back to your own teenage years and consider some of the questionable choices you made at that time, or reflect upon some of your responses to situations that may now seem emotionally and hormonally driven. Given the nature of the developmental changes that occur during adolescence, it can be quite challenging for a clinician to assess what a client is actually experiencing. During the adolescent stage, teens will often exhibit behaviors that seem unhealthy, dangerous, and sometimes even pathological. A closer look at the current developmental stage of the client and the familial history may lead to a very different conclusion. Therefore, social workers need to be very thorough when assessing adolescents and take into consideration multiple factors prior to planning and intervening.

Learning Objectives
Students will:
Apply attachment theory to a case study
Analyze attachment styles in adolescents
Analyze developmental stages in adolescents
Apply developmental theory to a case study
Learning Resources
Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.
Required Readings
Dubois-Comtois, K., Cyr, C., Pascuzzo, K., Lessard, M., & Poulin, C. (2013). Attachment theory in clinical work with adolescents. Journal of Child & Adolescent Behavior, 1(111). Retrieved from
Gross, J. T., Stern, J. A., Brett, B. E., & Cassidy, J. (2017). The multifaceted nature of prosocial behavior in children: Links with attachment theory and research. Social Development, 26(4), 661–678.
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014a). Sessions: case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].
The Bradley Family (pp. 17–19)
Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014b). Social work case studies: Concentration year. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].

Working With Families: The Case of Brady (pp. 26–28)

Note: Depending on your concentration, you may not receive a case study book until a later term. Therefore, if you did not receive a copy of Social Work Case Studies: Concentration Year in your previous course, use the linked PDF provided here. If you did receive the book referenced above, you may find the cases there or use the PDF.

Springer, D. W., & Powell, T. M. (2013). Assessment of adolescents. In M. J. Holosko, C. N. Dulmus, & K. M. Sowers (Eds.), Social work practice with individuals and families: Evidence-informed assessments and interventions (pp. 71–95). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
Withers, M. C., McWey, L. M., & Lucier‐Greer, M. (2016). Parent–adolescent relationship factors and adolescent outcomes among high‐risk families. Family Relations, 65(5), 661-672.
Required Media
Sprouts. (2017, April 23). 8 stages of development by Erik Erikson [Video file]. Retrieved from
The School of Life. (2015, March). Psychotherapy-John Bowlby [Video file]. Retrieved from
TEDxYouth. (2013, February 12). Insight into the teenage brain: Adrianna Galvan

. Retrieved from
Laureate Education (Producer). (2013a). Bradley family: Episode 2 [Video file]. Retrieved from
Accessible player –Downloads–Download Video w/CCDownload AudioDownload TranscriptCredit: Provided courtesy of the Laureate International Network of Universities.
Optional Resources
Use this link to access the MSW home page, which provides resources for your social work program.
Discussion 1: Attachment Theory
The adolescent stage can be described as a time where there is a loss of innocence and a preentry into adulthood. A large part of being an adolescent is beginning that process of stepping out into the world and learning about oneself as a unique and autonomous individual. This movement out into the world is contingent upon the knowledge that this young person will have a safe and secure home to return to at the end of the day. If a traumatic loss or event has occurred in the adolescent’s life, there may be no safe base to which this individual can return. Attachment theory teaches us that a young person’s ability to attach/engage with peers, family, and other potential support systems is an important aspect of the developmental process. During the adolescent stage of development, assessing attachment styles is important because it provides a window into how the adolescent relates to others, which allows the clinician to choose the appropriate intervention.

For this Discussion, choose either the program case study for the Bradley family or the course-specific case study for Brady.

Working With Families: The Case of Brady Brady is a 15-year-old, Caucasian male referred to me by his previous social worker for a second evaluation. Brady’s father, Steve, reports that his son is irritable, impulsive, and often in trouble at school; has difficulty concentrating on work (both at home and in school); and uses foul language. He also informed me that his wife, Diane, passed away 3 years ago, although he denies any relationship between Brady’s behavior and the death of his mother. Brady presented as immature and exhibited below-average intelligence and emotional functioning. He reported feelings of low self-esteem, fear of his father, and no desire to attend school. Steve presented as emotionally deregulated and also emotionally immature. He appeared very nervous and guarded in the sessions with Brady. He verbalized frustration with Brady and feeling overwhelmed trying to take care of his son’s needs. Brady attended four sessions with me, including both individual and family work. I also met with Steve alone to discuss the state of his own mental health and parenting support needs. In the initial evaluation session I suggested that Brady be tested for learning and emotional disabilities. I provided a referral to a psychiatrist, and I encouraged Steve to have Brady evaluated by the child study team at his school. Steve unequivocally told me he would not follow up with these referrals, telling me, “There is nothing wrong with him. He just doesn’t listen, and he is disrespectful.” After the initial session, I met individually with Brady and completed a genogram and asked him to discuss each member of his family. He described his father as angry and mean and reported feeling afraid of him. When I inquired what he was afraid of, Brady did not go into detail, simply saying, “getting in trouble.” In the next follow-up session with both Steve and Brady present, Steve immediately told me about an incident Brady had at school. Steve was clearly frustrated and angry and began to call Brady hurtful names. I asked Steve about his behavior and the words used toward Brady. Brady interjected and told his dad that being called these names made him feel afraid of him and further caused him to feel badly about himself. Steve then began to discuss the effects of his wife’s death on him and Brady and verbalized feelings of hopelessness. I suggested that Steve follow up with my previous recommendations and, further, that he should strongly consider meeting with a social worker to address his own feelings of grief. Steve agreed to take the referral for the psychiatrist and said he would follow up with the school about an evaluation for Brady, but he denied that he needed treatment. In the third session, I met initially with Brady to complete his genogram, when he said, “I want to tell you what happens sometimes when I get in trouble.” Brady reported that there had been physical altercations between him and his father. I called Steve in and told him what Brady had discussed in the session. Brady confronted his father, telling him how he felt when they fight. He also told Steve that he had become “meaner” after “mommy died.” Steve admitted to physical altercations in the home and an increase in his irritability since the death of his wife. Steve and Brady then hugged. I told them it was my legal obligation to report the accusations of abuse to Child Protective Services (CPS), which would assist with services such as behavior modification and parenting skills. Steve asked to speak to me alone and became angry, accusing me of calling him a child abuser. I explained the role of CPS and that the intent of the call was to help put services into place. After our session, I called CPS and reported the incident. At our next session, after the report was made, Steve was again angry and asked me what his legal rights were as a parent. He then told me that he was seeking legal counsel to file a lawsuit against me. I explained my legal obligations as a clinical social worker and mandated reporter. Steve asked me very clearly, “Do you think I am abusing my son?” My answer was, “I cannot be the one to make that determination. I am obligated by law to report.” Steve sighed, rolled his eyes, and called me some names under his breath. Brady’s case was opened as a child welfare case rather than a child protective case (which would have required his removal from the home). CPS initiated behavior modification, parenting skills classes, and a school evaluation. Steve was ordered by the court to seek mental health counseling. One year after I closed this case, Brady called me to thank me, asking that I not let his father know that he called. Brady reported that they continued to be involved with child welfare and that he and his father had not had any physical altercations since the report.

By Day 3
Post an application of the attachment theory to the case of either Tiffani or Brady. Discuss the connection between his or her attachment style and the exhibiting behavior.

Support your posts with specific references to this week’s resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references
By Day 5
Respond to at least two colleagues who identified a different case and provide feedback on client attachment style and exhibiting behavior.

Support your responses with specific references to this week’s resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.
Submission and Grading Information
Grading Criteria
To access your rubric:
Week 4 Discussion 1 Rubric
Post by Day 3 and Respond by Day 5
To participate in this Discussion:
Week 4 Discussion 1
Discussion 2: Developmental Stages
Understanding an adolescent’s behavior can be at times elusive and even frustrating. Due to the multiple aspects of the developmental tasks during these years, it can be at times quite challenging to clearly define the issue(s) at hand. Assessment during this stage will include an evaluation of whether an adolescent’s actions are indicative of unhealthy behavior or merely representative of being an adolescent. A comprehensive assessment that includes an evaluation of the client’s developmental stage is a priority when working with this age group.

For this Discussion, choose the opposite case from Discussion 1 and use Erikson’s developmental theory.

By Day 4
Post an assessment of whether the client is mastering the stage of identity. Identify the areas that should be addressed in an intervention based on his or her developmental stage. Describe how you might address those areas.

Support your posts with specific references to this week’s resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.
By Day 6
Respond to at least two colleagues who identified a different case and provide feedback on the client’s stage of development. Identify another area that should be addressed, based on developmental stage.

Support your responses with specific references to this week’s resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.


Sara Hale RE: Discussion 1 – Week 4COLLAPSE

Attachment theory has demonstrated to social workers the relationship of child development. It looks more profound into one’s youth, through the encounters and communications with the guardians they have had. Attachment theory focuses on the associations from first born to puberty with their guardians, which can later affect their relationship later in life. The issues identified with the attachment theory is complaint, gloom, and separation. The method utilizes the idea of interior working models to help see exercises in early childhood influence resulting in connections (Turner, 2017).Tiffany is a 16-year-old female who was court ordered to be placed in a facility that will provide her food and shelter after being arrested for prostitution. Tiffany grew up needing to take care of her sister and herself by washing clothes and cooking meals due her parents inability and inconsistency to do so (Plummer, Markis, & Brocksen, 2014). Tiffany has felt that both of her parents were not there to protect her when they should have been and therefore it pushed her to date Donald. Not having her mom there for her and her sister makes Tiffany feel very insecure about her attachment with her mom (Plummer, Markis, & Brocksen, 2014).

In early childhood, a safe attachment is described by the capacity to look for solace from a prominent figure when they are experiencing challenges. It is additionally estimated by how quick and how easily they are consoled (Baras, 2015). Attachment in teenagers is a stage where parents are not generally the fundamental guardian which causes tteenagers to frequently seek/gain support and solace from other individuals who can function as a protected structure (Baras, 2015). Donald (Tiffany’s boyfriend) was this for her by giving her a place to sleep, feeding her since she went to bed hungry many times, and telling her that he loved her which she didn’t have. Donald was not like Tiffany’s father, in the beginning, so she gravitated to him to in order to have the male attachment that she was not receiving from her father. Tiffany had to swap roles with her parents by taking care of her sister and the house. Tiffany’s behavior toward Donald is a form of grooming over the past two years to think that she loves Donald and that no one wanted her but him, and he was the only one that was willing to protect her. Being a teenager, can be a confusing time, and they are not sure who or what to accept.


Baras, R. (2015). Attachment theory: secure and insecure attachment in teenagers. Family Matters Practical Parenting. Retrieved on March 17, 2019, from

Plummer, S-B., Markis, S. & Brocksen, S.M (2014). Social Work Case Studies: Concentration Year, The Case of Brady. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing.

Turner, F.J. (2017). Social work treatment: Interlocking theoretical approaches (6th ed.). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

REPLY QUOTE EMAIL AUTHOR 6 hours agoNakesha Morgan RE: Discussion 1 – Week 4COLLAPSE

Attachment theory plays an important role in individuals personal development. Without having an attachment with a primary caregiver it lessen the ability for them to have a emotional bond with anyone else. If there is no consistency of interaction or affection in the natural environment it will be hard to display with others. The attachment plays an important role in the emotional behavior. Bowlby believed that earliest bond are form by children and their caregiver and continues throughout life.

In the case of Brady his mother pass away and he has been been displaying anger and a difficult time concentrating in school and in the home. Brady feel he has no support and experiences nervousness and low self esteem. Brady express his father is aggressive and mean. They don’t have any type of relationship with one another. Brady has a fear for his father and appears guarded during his sessions. The father feels there is nothing wrong with Brady he is just hard headed and disrespectful and the father won’t follow up with services.

In this study it appears both the father and Brady may be experiencing some issues with the lost. With the father not being there for Brady it can lead to further issues in the future since his father isn’t providing nurture or a loving bond. Brady is willing to express things that is going on and how he feels towards the reactions of his father. It will be easier to find services for Brady because it appears he is acceptable to getting help. Attachment is a model in which one can understand a child early experiences of care and how they gain comfort to a particular person. In this case Brady has no one to provide comfort for him since his mother passed away and his father only expresses aggressive behavior. This is causing Brady to feel along and display the same behavior in other environments (Gross, 2017).

Plummer, S.-B., Makris, S., & Brocksen, S. M. (Eds.). (2014a). Sessions: case histories. Baltimore, MD: Laureate International Universities Publishing. [Vital Source e-reader].



Response 2

Michelle Ellis RE: Discussion 2 – Week 4COLLAPSE

The case that I chose to speak on is the one of Brady, a 15 year old caucassian male that was referred by a social worker because he has been misbehaving, depressed, acting out, withdrawn, and troublesome both in the home and at school, by reports of his father (Plummer, Markis, & Brocksen, 2014). Brady has reported that he has been fearful of his father more often than not, and that there has been a significant change in his father’s behaviors since the death of his mother a few year ago; it appears that her death has been detrimental to the father and son relationship (Markis, et. al., 2014). Poor adolescent adjustment, behaviors, delinquency, and overall poor attitude has been linked to low quality between parents and children (Withers, McWey, & Lucier-Geer, 2016).

Moving on towards Brady mastering Erickson’s stage of Identify; I do not think that he is. He is unsure of himself, has a poor relationship with his father, is fearful, lacks confidence, and is having trouble finding out who he is and where he belongs in this world. He is withdrawn and depressed. I do link Brady’s issues directly to his relationship with his father, especially so since there has been both physical and emotional abuse. However, with a great intervention and treatment plan, Brady can go on to become sure of who he is and move on to figure out who he is, of course having his relationship with his father becoming a strong one will be beneficial in this stage, and the ones to come in Brady’s life.


larry harris RE: Discussion 2 – Week 4COLLAPSE

Brady a young adolescent male is having a rough time after his mother died. He is irritable, uses foul language, gets in trouble at school and has trouble which his father doesn’t think has anything to do with the mother passing. Brady is struggling with the identity stage, in the video Sprouts stated if our parents allow us the opportunity to explore, we can find our identity and if pushed to conform to other’s views can make someone feel lost (2017). Steve has not allowed Brady the opportunity to explore and fails to see his behavior is making Brady feel worse with the physical abuse and name calling. This makes Brady afraid to be himself.

“The importance of quality of parent–adolescent relationships is well established (e.g., Steinberg, [ 56] ). Low‐quality relationships are associated with poor adolescent adjustment, including depression, withdrawal, aggression, and delinquency (Withers, McWey, Lucier-Greer, 2016).” I would address the depression and feeling of hopelessness and do activities to help build self-esteem. I would work on Brady building his communication skills and help him to heal from the loss of his mother. I would work on Brady’s resilience helping him to see the good qualities he possesses. I would also work on helping Brady to find who he is and what he wants to do.


Sprouts. (2017, April 23). 8 stages of development by Erik Erikson [Video file]. Retrieved from V-aYCBdZLCDBQ&feature=youtube

Withers, M. C., McWey, L. M., & Lucier, G. M. (2016). Parent-Adolescent Relationship Factors and Adolescent Outcomes Among High-Risk Families. Family Relations, 65(5), 661–672.


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