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Annie Marie Paisley

A theory is a logical system of general concepts that underlies the organization and understanding of observations (Thomas ). In this paper the psychosocial theory will be examined. The psychosocial theory is a theory of psychological development that proposes that cognitive, emotional, and social growth are the result of the interaction between social expectations at each life stage and the competences that people bring to each life challenge. This theory explores the concept that people have the capacity to contribute to their psychological development at each stage of life. The psychosocial theory also considers the cultural influence on individual growth. There is an important connection between an individual and the world.

The psychosocial theory consists of eight stages of development. Each stage is a period of life that is characterized by a specific underlying organization. Each stage is also unique and leads to the acquisition

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of new capabilities. Mastering concepts from the previous stage insures more success within the next stage. Within these stages occur conflict and the presentation of new problems. There are psychosocial crisis during each stage. A psychosocial crisis is a predictable life tension that arises as people experience some conflict between their own competencies and the expectations of their society.

Erik H. Erikson was one of the first theorists to identify the psychosocial theory. His work was influenced by Sigmund and Anna Freud, Peter Blos, Robert White, Jean Piaget and Robert Havighurst.

Annie Marie Paisley is a 66 year old retired teacher. She is currently experiencing later adulthood. Later Adulthood is one of the eight stages of the psychosocial theory. Annie Marie Paisley was born on February 14, 17. She is the eldest of eight children. She was known as “sweetheart” because she was born on Valentine’s Day. Mrs. Paisley was born in Notasulga, Alabama. Her father worked in the fields farming and picking cotton. Her mother performed odd


jobs like house cleaning, babysitting, sewing and hemming. Mrs. Paisley took on the role at the early age of 10 as babysitter of her seven siblings. She would feed them and cloth them. They all looked up to her somewhat like a mother.

Mrs. Paisley hardly ever had the opportunity to attend school. She was very busy with babysitting her sisters and brothers and washing clothing for Lady Karen. Lady Karen Winfield was white women who lived about a mile away. She would allow Annie to come and have tea with her and her daughter. She was called “Lady Karen” because she always acted in a proper and prim manner. Annie had never called her that to her face for fear of being scolded by her mother. Lady Karen would give Marie dresses that her daughter Sicily had outgrown. Lady Karen taught Annie to improve her reading and wring skills. Marie was a very petite as young girl. She was often ridiculed by others because of size and stature.

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Marie sometimes went barefoot in order for her younger sisters to have shoes. Her mother Minnie Lee and father George William. Her father was named after her supposed grandfather. Her grandfather did not claim her father because he was a white man and back then interracial relationships and children were shunned. Her father was very light skinned with silky gray hair and her mother was brown skinned with kinky black that she often wore in two cornrows. They lived in a very small house. The house had three bedrooms for the ten of them. They had a garden were squash, tomatoes, collards and peas were grown. Her mother would make homemade biscuits.

Marie was picked at because of her completion. She was the darkest one of the eight children. Her sister May Bell had long hair that hung to the middle of her breast. She was somewhat envious of that hair. Marie said that she often felt that being African American was not good enough because her parents always told her that “little black girls don’t wear expensive dresses and go off to college, you best pick a job that more suiting to you instead of trying to go off to school.”

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Marie didn’t do much dating growing up. She was way to busy making up for all the tons of years of schooling she had missed, working and tending to her siblings. Marie did however have one suitor in particular, Mathis Lewis. He was tall, smart as a whip and light-skinned with curly hair. Her mother Minnie always told her “never trust a light skinned man with curly hair”. She disobeyed those orders like any other young adult. Annie Marie and Mathis were later married. They married on January 15, 157. They did not court one another very long.

Annie was a tad bit eager to be a way and also be free of some of the responsibilities that come with being the oldest. Her relationship with Mathis did not last very long because they were both to young with unrealistic ideals. Her Minnie was not overjoyed by union but she did however attend the wedding. After divorcing her husband in 160 she went on to attend Alabama State University with the help of a scholarship and plenty hard work. She received her degree in education in 165. She chose to attend Alabama State

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University because she found great pride in attending a black university. She had a desire to join a sorority but could not afford to pledge. Annie felt like she had found a place where she would fit in and surround herself with people with similar goals and ideals. Annie was quite the civil rights activists. She participated in many sit-ins and protests. While in college she met Woodrow Paisley. Woodrow was also an aspiring teacher. She received a job as a teacher in the Montgomery school they were later married in 167 in Montgomery, AL. Woodrow taught in Selma. They had three kids Saren, Billy and James. They have been happily married for 6 years. They currently reside in Tuskegee, Alabama. She often returns to Notasulga to visit her old home.

While growing up Mrs. Paisley attended a Baptist Church. Her family was very religious. The entire family attended church every Sunday and had bible study amongst themselves. She was the Sunday school teacher when she was a teenager. Her family lived a very meager life. They were a fairly poor

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family. Her community was very connected. Many of the members of the community were relatives of hers. They often helped one another out in difficult times. From this level of helpfulness she learned that “black folks should stick together”.

Later Adulthood

Currently Annie is experiencing the phase of later adulthood. The conflict of this stage is integrity vs. Despair. This is the stage at which an older adult accepts their life for what it is. Much of their conversation is based upon historical facts and occasions that happed in the past. It is a time of uncertainty. Annie has begun to accept that the prime of her life has been experience and further evaluates death. Death is not seen such much negative or bad but inevitable because it is. As a resolution to the integrity vs. despair crisis Mrs. Paisley keeps herself well entertained so that she may not focus so heavily on her age. She gardens, teachers adults to read and write and also sews clothing for her grandchildren.

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She is a very accomplished church going women with a beautiful family. Annie encountered many crises. During early adolescence she began to explore who she was and wanted to be. She wanted distinction from her other sisters and brothers because she had cared for them and often put her own needs aside. She began to work especially hard so that she could attend college. She began to experience the crisis of identity vs. Role confusion. Annie played the roles of mother because her mother Minnie was so busy with work. She began to focus more on herself and what she wanted to do. It was very difficult growing up as an African American girl. That is one of the reasons she chose to attend a predominately African American university. She felt less isolated. Intimacy vs. Isolation is a conflict that occurs within young adulthood. Annie also had to adjust to being away from home and gaining a great deal of independence. She coped by why of meeting new friends, maintaining ties with family and friends and joining organizations. During Adulthood she was confronted with the conflict of generativity vs.


stagnation. During this stage her life had began to subside and was a lot less hectic than it used to be. To deal with the change she saw this as a good thing. Now she had time to relax. She no longer had to live a rushed life filled with financial problems. The central process is the process through which each psychosocial crisis is resolved. Ultimately the goal is resolve any conflicts. This may include revision of the psychological system.

One of the limitations of the Psychosocial Theory is that the basic concepts of the theory are abstract and difficult to operationalize. There are cultural limitations. There also is no clear elaboration on the way the culture effects development. The theory does no explain mechanisms for the resolution of crisis. No universal method has been developed. Though this theory does not lead to the ultimate understanding of the individual it does however provide a great foundation. It is perhaps impossible to devise a theory that included every aspect of every person.

Takisha Shealey

Human Behavior and the Social Environment II

DR. Wintson


Newman, B.M. & Newman P. R. (00). Human behavior in the social environment A psychosocial approach (8th edition). New York Electric Publishing Services Inc.

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