PSY FPX 6015 Assessment 2 Early Childhood Case Intervention Analysis of Emma
Phillip April 16, 2024 No Comments

PSY FPX 6015 Assessment 2 Early Childhood Case Intervention Analysis of Emma

PSY FPX 6015 Assessment 2 Early Childhood Case Intervention Analysis of Emma


Capella University

PSY FPX 6015 Lifespan Development

Prof. Name



This is a retroactive analysis of a case study on a 24-month-old girl named Annette, who is beginning to demonstrate a potential rare attachment style. The fearful-avoidant attachment style appears in only 7% of the population. Annette not only lives with both her parents but also has experienced some of the classic traumas that can lead to such a disorder. The family is German American with 2nd and 3rd generational extended family that give irregular financial and emotional support. Counter-culture that the parents are raising Annette in is the late 60s and 70s. Her mother experienced high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression during prenatal development with Annette.

She also drank alcohol during gestation and Annette’s early child development to help medicate her potential attachment style of anxious-ambivalent. Her father is often detached, angry, and violent, as he is away from home because of business. He drinks alcohol to cope with his potential attachment style of being dismissive-avoidant. Interventions of positive psychological techniques, like 12-step recovery and brief parental linguistic guidance, are given as best practices to prevent a disorganized attachment style in early adulthood for Annette.

Early Development Case Intervention Analysis: Annette, A Case Study in Retrograde

Annette is a 24-month-old toddler that lives with both her parents and her older brother, and even though they have moved several times over the last couple of years, they currently reside in Ft. Worth, Texas, during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Both parents stated that their daughter has always been shy and usually only plays with her brother. Any extended family lives far away; however, they help support Annette’s parents financially and emotionally infrequently and rarely visit. Annette’s parents have recently become concerned about her because she has started having difficulty with sporadic crying, hitting her brother, taking off her clothes, putting on another child’s diapers, and even being caught drinking from another child’s bottle.

According to her mother, she has been weaned from the bottle since she was 9-months-old and started eating solid foods. However, she has always sucked her thumb. Annette seems to want attention from her father when he is home and her mother the rest of the time, yet she is content playing with her brother too. As for her sleep patterns, she started sleepwalking about a month ago and becoming more withdrawn. Moreover, alcohol, domestic violence, depression, cultural differences, abuse, and neglect, potentially play a role in the life and analysis of Annette and her family. Because according to John Bowlby (1978), Annette’s relationship with her parents and other caregivers is essential to her development into a functional or dysfunctional adult. Peer-reviewed research interventions are needed. Thus, the attachment theory can help clarify Annette’s fearful-avoidant behaviors and reinforce the need for various interventions to attenuate her actions.

Present Challenges and Primary Issues

However, the family dynamics of violence and alcohol use present tremendous challenges to address and are a huge part of the primary issues with Annette’s unusual behavior. The parent’s way of coping with stress has created a cycle of violence and potential SUD, such as alcohol dependence, major depression, and anxiety comorbidities. Therefore, addressing these issues is primary, then treating the underlying family of origin issues with the mother and the father. The mother has developed possible anxious-ambivalent attachment traits because of the sexual abuse and alcoholism that she suffered during her childhood (Salter et al., 2015; Darling Rasmussen & Storebø, 2021; Johnsen et al., 2022). She displays depression and anxiety regularly, which has affected the care she gives her children (Glover et al., 2018).

This stress during gestation can cause fetal and child development abnormalities. The father illustrates traits of a dismissive-avoidant within his marriage and towards his children (Salter et al., 2015; Rempel et al., 2017). Both appear to utilize alcohol to excess to cope with their unresolved psychological issues. Even they have reported giving alcohol to the children to help them sleep. Also, the mother has had difficulties with previous pregnancies that have caused extensive blood loss and needed an emergency cesarian section. Annette was born naturally and a couple of weeks early. Thus, she was mildly underweight. Most importantly, the mother said she craved alcohol during her pregnancy and drank beer and wine while pregnant.

PSY FPX 6015 Assessment 2 Early Childhood Case Intervention Analysis of Emma

According to Cornelius et al. (2017), these behaviors could lead to environmental adversities for Annette later in life, such as SUD and maltreatment. Also, alcohol use can cause child developmental issues, such as cognitive and psychopathologies. Significant behavioral and functional impairments can occur due to prenatal alcohol use (Guille & Aujla, 2018). Potentially creating behavioral, mental, emotional, and physiological deficits in Annette’s early development, the dysfunctional family system is the primary source. As for Annette’s issues, she appears to be developing a rare attachment style, fearfulavoidant because of the amount of trauma and abuse she has experienced. This attachment style only develops in about 7% of the population and usually develops within a child’s first 18 months of life (Salter et al., 2015; Felitti et al., 2019).

PSY FPX 6015 Assessment 2 Early Childhood Case Intervention Analysis of Emma

Annette has potentially viewed the aggressive abuse from her father as frightening. For example, her father may laugh at her and her family’s behaviors. Then at other times, he becomes outraged at the same behaviors and punishes them in violent or aggressive ways, especially her mother (Bowlby, 1978; Salter et al., 2015). Annette’s lack of personal boundaries with taking off her clothes, wearing diapers meant for other children, exploring off by herself, and sometimes hitting her brother is another example of this potential attachment style. Also, she can quickly adapt to a new environment for short periods, yet prefers to only play with her brother or herself (Broderick & Blewitt, 2019).

She also makes limited eye contact with others. Annette’s sleep disturbances are also a concern. She has been seen sleepwalking over the past month, which can be due to extreme fatigue from anxiety and stress in the home or poor diet (Broderick & Blewitt, 2019). These behaviors are concerns that could risk future relationships, coping mechanisms, and overall well-being of Annette.

Individual and Cultural Differences

Additionally, there are some individual and cultural differences that need to be taken into account. First, both parents are of German descent, with the extended family living as 2nd generational German Americans. This establishes some reasons for their acceptability of alcohol use during pregnancy and for giving children alcohol for fussiness or sleep (Elam et al., 2018). Germans do not view alcohol the same way Americans do. It is more ingrained in the culture and can continue as a cross-cultural identity with German Americans. Cultural differences may dictate some enduring unhealthy behaviors within close relationships because of perceived religious and family values ( Lavelli et al., 2019; Khamis et al., 2022). Leaving or divorcing a partner is not as culturally acceptable, especially for those who practice religion, like Catholicism or Southern Baptist. Lastly, some counterculture issues should be addressed in this case as well. The timeframe of this case is

during the late 60s and early 70s, which overall was a time of opposition to established norms for young adults within the United States. Alcohol and drug use were seen and used differently than they are today. Hence, individual and cultural differences have a potential correlational significance with the case.


Furthermore, interventions are a priority to circumvent long-term harm to Annette. There are correlations between genes, environmental aggression, and family cohesion with future alcohol use or SUD (Elam et al., 2018; Wertz et al., 2019). As Annette grows up in this fractured, violent, and alcohol-infused ethnic family, she may develop aggression, SUD, and unhealthy relationships as an adult. Therefore, according to Leontopoulou (2015), gratitude, self-worth, and goal-setting interventions can evoke positive changes within an individual’s character, such as endurance, empathy, self-esteem, and virtue. Annette’s parents would benefit from positive psychology methods, such as 12-step recovery and Imago therapy (i.e., empathetic communication and positive cognitive skills for couples and individuals).

These interventions can bring cohesion, sobriety, and hope back to the family, which would help mitigate Annette’s attachment style. Brief parental linguistic guidance is an additional intervention that can increase positive parenting skills and decrease Annette’s behavioral issues or potential attachment style. This brief parenting intervention teaches caregivers different techniques for communicating with their children. According to Heymann et al. (2020), problems or behaviors within the home can be connected to various parent-child interactions (i.e., the art of language/communication) that can affect child development. Therefore, it is crucial to address language and behavior with infants/toddlers at risk, like Annette.

PSY FPX 6015 Assessment 2 Early Childhood Case Intervention Analysis of Emma

The interventions include strategies such as games that involve the importance of parental responsiveness and back-and-forth parent-child engagement (Heymann et al., 2020). For example, the parents begin to interact with Annette in a positive linguistic way with do skills instead of do not skills. These include praise, reflection, and behavioral descriptions, but not commands. The intervention produces word diversity, linguistic quality, and language aliment, which improves potential child behavioral disorders, especially for those living in poverty (Heymann et al., 2020). Thus, increasing a positive environment and reducing Annette’s risk of attachment disorder that could negatively impact the rest of her life.


In short, Annette is in danger of developing or has already developed a rare attachment style because of the amount of trauma and abuse she has suffered directly and vicariously in her 24 months of life. A fearful-avoidant can develop as early as 18 months of age and develop a disorganized attachment style as she becomes an adult. Currently, she is displaying inappropriate behavior by taking off her clothes, sleepwalking, crying sporadically for attention, not seeming to need it, becoming aggressive at times, and being more withdrawn with limited eye contact. She has experienced mixed messages from her parents regarding attention, rewards, punishments, and care.

Alcohol, stress, and depression during gestation and early developmental care potentially correlate with behavioral abnormalities, aggression, violence, and mixed communication (Paquin et al., 2020). Interventions of positive psychological techniques and linguistic input are suggested to break the cycle of dysfunction and alcoholism. Cultural diverse tolerance is necessary to work with the family of German descent and this counter-culture of the 60s and 70s. If interventions are successful, Annette will have an opportunity to build healthy relationships as she matures into a young adult.

Case Study

Annette is a 24-month-old who resides with her mother, father, and older 3.5-year-old brother. However, due to her father’s profession as a traveling salesman, she has irregular contact with him. Annette’s family background is of German descent, with her parents being 2nd and 3rd generational German Americans who also participated in the counter-culture of the 60s and 70s. Annette’s mother is a stay-at-home parent, while her father spends most of the month away from home due to work commitments. The family has relocated multiple times during Annette’s life and currently resides in Ft. Worth, Texas.

Annette’s mother experienced significant pre and postnatal stress, past pregnancy complications, various family-of-origin issues, and endured physical and emotional abuse from her husband. She also consumed alcohol during pregnancy, exacerbating her preexisting depressive disorder and leading to inconsistent care for Annette and her brother. Additionally, both children are given alcohol to aid sleep when they become fussy.

When Annette’s mother leaves her with friends or relatives to spend time with her husband, Annette exhibits minimal distress and quickly adapts to the new environment by exploring. However, these outings sometimes result in inappropriate behaviors such as removing her clothes and wearing another child’s diapers. Annette has also started displaying aggressive behavior towards her brother, sporadic crying, sleepwalking, and withdrawal from social interaction.

PSY FPX 6015 Assessment 2 Early Childhood Case Intervention Analysis of Emma

From birth, Annette has continuously sucked her thumb, despite attempts by her parents to discourage the behavior, such as applying hot sauce. Both of Annette’s parents consume excessive amounts of alcohol when the father is home, often entertaining friends, which sometimes escalates to domestic violence after guests leave. On occasions, the violence extends to Annette and her brother, with their father exhibiting aggressive behavior towards them.

Annette’s mother acknowledges feelings of depression but focuses her energy on maintaining the household. Consequently, she often prioritizes chores over spending time with Annette, leaving her to play with her brother for extended periods. Financial struggles due to her father’s job type lead to limited resources, including food. Despite this, Annette’s mother prioritizes feeding the children and her husband, sometimes foregoing her meals. Both sides of the family provide occasional financial and emotional support.


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PSY FPX 6015 Assessment 2 Early Childhood Case Intervention Analysis of Emma

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