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Human Behavior: Theories of Personality and Development

A 16-month-old male child is being raised in a home environment characterized by both verbal and physical aggression toward the child and his siblings. The home conditions are at best, chaotic. Which of the following psychiatric disorders is this infant at a higher risk to display in his early school years?

a. Conduct disorder

b. Schizophrenia

c. Separation anxiety disorder

d. Antisocial personality disorder

e. Pica

The answer is a. (Kaplan and Sadock, p 1248.) This child is being raised in a chaotic home environment with both physical and verbal aggression present. This is associated with the development of a child's own aggressive behavior, and a diagnosis of conduct disorder. The diagnosis of antisocial personality disorder is not given to patients under the age of 18. There is no evidence for any of the other psychiatric disorders as listed.

A 2-year-old girl is being toilet trained by her parents. Each time she soils her diaper, she is told that she is a very bad girl and she has a toy taken away. When she uses the toilet appropriately, she is not praised by her parents. Which of the following sequelae is the child most likely to experience as a result of this kind of parental behavior?

a. A basic sense of mistrust

b. Shame and self-doubt

c. Guilt

d. Stagnation of her development

e. An absence of intimacy as an adult

The answer is b. (Kaplan and Sadock, pp 169-170.) Children from the ages of approximately 1 to 3 are in the Eriksonian stage of autonomy versus shame and doubt. Children who are shamed by their caregivers—as in this example of the child who does not go to the toilet but, rather, soils her diapers—are more likely to develop shame and self-doubt rather than functioning autonomously with a sense of pride and self-confidence. The other options listed in this question are negative sequelae that can occur in other phases of the Eriksonian stages of the life cycle: basic trust versus mistrust (birth to 1 year), initiative versus guilt (3 to 5 years), intimacy versus isolation (21 to 40 years), and generativity versus stagnation (40 to 65 years).

In the vignette above, which of the following best describes the operant conditioning model with which this girl is being trained?


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