Adolescent Development Interview

Adolescent Development Interview

Teenage years are the most intriguing but yet challenging time for people. The period begin at the age of 11 and proceed through 18 years. Adolescence refers to a transitional period that occurs in the human life span and is mostly the link between childhood and adulthood. This period is a very critical and sensitive time frame in the growth and development of an individual (Pearson, 2018). However, it is important to understand the experience of an adolescent with an aim to respond to the challenging demands of psychological and physical changes that might affect their interaction with others. This will be illustrated in the present article through Erik Erikson’s psychosocial development theory and an interview performed with three teenagers.

Description of Selected Theory: Erik Erikson’s Theory

The psychologist formulates the psychoanalysis theory, which explains the eight life stages of development of an individual. Erikson’s theory associates the advancing psychosocial crises changes in an individual to the biological and sociocultural forces (Scheck, 2014). However, if a person fails to reconcile these forces across the lifespan successfully, then the challenges may be experienced in future development. According to the theory, children encounter identity vs. role confusion. During this critical development, children are bound to question their identity and seek to understand their purpose in life. The adolescents also explore various roles, ideas, and goals that fit into their model of adulthood (O’Reilly & Parker, 2014). While the children discover themselves in the whole identity framework, they encounter challenges related to the beliefs and values of society. Most often, the teenagers are bound to conform to the ideas of their parents about future development and cast a lot of confusion with regard to their perception about the world.

Description of the Interviewees

In order to assess the experience of a teenager, I have selected three participants.

Adolescent 1 is a 13-year-old African American girl who lives at home with both her parents and also attends a public middle school. Adolescent 2 is a 17-year-old Caucasian girl who also lives with her parents and has also got a driver’s license.  She is also a sophomore in high school. Finally, adolescent 3 is an 18-year-old Hispanic boy who has just started college but is from a divorced home.

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These teenagers feel compelled to follow the legacy of their parents in achieving academic success but are overwhelmed in balancing school work with social life. Adolescent 1 would like to pursue nursing just in the same way her mother is a nurse. Adolescent 2 wishes to become a lawyer to follow the same path of her father who currently works as an attorney in the city. On the other hand, adolescent 3 has already enrolled for a biology course and wishes to specialize as a botanist, the same profession her mother practices. As per the interview conducted for the three teenagers, it is apparent that their current identity status conforms to that of foreclosure (O’Reilly & Parker, 2014). In other words, they would wish to pursue the same courses that their parents currently practice to follow a tradition in their family. Except for adolescent 1, the other two teenagers confirmed that they were dating. However, all three adolescents admitted to value the love of their parents more than their friends or partners. Besides, they viewed teachers with respect and affirmed their like for harsh but firm trainers.

All the teenagers also admitted to have experienced a crisis in their lives particularly misunderstandings with parents, siblings, and friends. Often, in a quarrel with the parents, the participants revealed that they lose as they cannot do what they would want to achieve if it contradicts the beliefs in the family. Currently, the three teenagers do not work but focus their energy on academics. They would, however, wish to seek employment and save money for their use as well as to support the family. The teenagers as well do not seem to have a lot of responsibility since their parents take much of the tasks except house chores (Pearson, 2018). Despite control from their parents, the teenagers are granted some level of autonomy which allows each of them to make a decision about pertinent issues of their life.

How the Interviewees’ Illustrate the Selected Theory

The teenagers interviewed illustrate an account of the zone of proximal development as defined by Erikson’s theory. By this, it implies that teenagers go through various encounters where certain tasks seem too difficult to handle (Scheck, 2014). As such, they require the guidance of their seniors particularly parents and their teachers. That’s why they mention that they treasure family and also respect harsh but firm teachers. The interviewees also illustrate Erikson’s theory of adaptive behavior when they suggest that they would wish to work if an opportunity presents itself (Pearson, 2018). This explains how they can survive in an environment away from school. It further suggests that adolescents can become responsible for helping the family by offering financial support. When the teenagers opt to pursue careers that are in line with those of their parents, it can be deduced from Erikson’s theory that they are unsure of their identity and are also confused about their future.


O’Reilly, M., & Parker, N. (2014). Doing mental health research with children and adolescents: A guide to qualitative methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Pearson, F. (2018). Interviewing children and young people for research. Los Angeles: Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE

Scheck, S. (2014). The Stages of Psychosocial Development According to Erik H. Erikson. München: GRIN Verlag GmbH