Development Stages and Attachment Types

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Perrys nine stages of development is a model that is aimed at viewing the developmental stages of college students as they enter into interactions with the college world at an instance of growth on to their qualitative learning process at the end of college (Moore, 2001). This model therefore presents an authoritative description of social experiences and transformations that the college student will go through in the course of their college education. This paper intends to discuss the social changes that Jayla and Elijah go through in the course of their college education and their social relationship using the description of the nine stages of development.

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When reflecting on the stage of dualism, we notice that at this stage, there are particularly two stages of interest, namely the existence of strict dualism and the beginning of interactions with multiplicity. Position 1, which is strict dualism, notices that the person strictly has a sense of strict right and wrong. This has been noted as the situation that could possibly be that of Eden. There is knowledge of right and wrong beliefs (Moore, 2001). As one could note, Jayla was raised in a strong religious background where there was little exposure to other religious beliefs. This was the opposite when she came to college, where notably she met people who were atheists and those who believed in nothing at all. Moreover, the expression that her religious beliefs provided guidance to her as an individual present a situation where she found that the absolute correct was based on the religious beliefs that she engaged before coming to college.

At the same time, there was multiplicity happening when she joined college. This was the place of her introduction to religious and cultural diversity. At this stage, Perry (1998) notes that the person is now aware of rights and wrongs and there is little challenge with identifying which action or set of actions belong where. Thus, the qualifying statement that is made in the course of the case study that prefers Jaylas religious beliefs above those of her peers by saying that these beliefs guided her life and behavior.

Perry (1974) also describes that he multiplicity stage moves on in various progressions until the individual has a certainty about what they accept, what they dont accept and what they are not sure about. At the first instance of interacting with the different beliefs, Jayla notices that just as her religious beliefs are important to her and guide her behavior; this may be the case with others who share different religious beliefs, including the atheists and those who believe in nothing at all. It begins with the acknowledgement of more than two positions and the addition of a third position, which provides for the unknown. At this instance, Jayla notices the place of various other religious beliefs in the college world as those which make sense to those who believe in them.

Following this was the development of late multiplicity. In this stage, the person has realized the existence of beliefs and social practices different from their own and has come to a conclusion about their existence (Lang, 2008). At their conclusion, they will either find that their own view is superior as an authority or that there is no superior line of thought. Either way, the person decides after absorbing the entirety of different belief systems. At this point, we see Jayla acknowledge the existence of the different religious beliefs that were available in the college environment. Despite the importance of her beliefs to her, she still maintains that there is a need to accept the others as they are. Therefore, she asserts that her own authority maintains over her. But at the same time, no party is entirely right.

This aspect borders on contextual relativism. At this stage, the person is aware of conflicting lines of thought and goes ahead to validate them, but maintains their stand on their own issue. At this point, the individual is moving away from the view that the world is majorly dualist to a view of different social contexts. At this point, Jayla acknowledges the existence of other religious beliefs that are important to those who hold them. Nonetheless, she holds on to her beliefs and maintains that her world view has changed since leaving college where she interacted with people of different beliefs.

At stage six, her foreseen commitment begins to become evident. Despite the knowledge of the other valid religious beliefs that she has encountered in the course of her college life, Jayla continues to go to church and hold fast to her religious beliefs. At this point, she has already made meaning of her life in terms of the religious perspective. Having accepted the existence of many other religious beliefs and given them the respect they accord, she now begins to determine the way forward with her own belief. Going to church regularly is a show of the resolve to begin a committed walk with herself in meeting her objectives religiously.

At the seventh stage, Jayla is experiencing the flowering of her commitment. Going to church regularly and the interactions with people of similar beliefs begins to become the development of her commitment after the resolution. At this stage, Perry (1998) notices that there is a deliberate resolve to engage in activities that affirm the persons social development process. The choice is made in the face of other opposing views, to pursue the choice that one has made as the valid choice towards the realization of their goals. At this stage, one is moving towards the affirmation of their beliefs as a person. This will closely be intertwined with the eighth stage where Jayla is where there is reflection of ones personal beliefs. Jayla has met a person of similar beliefs and continued interactions with this person (Elijah) have affirmed her belief. Moreover, her relationship with Elijah allows for constant reflection on her state of being especially on the issues of cheating.

Types of Attachment

Different types of attachments have been developed for adults. One such type is secure where the individual is comfortable with an emotionally invested relationship where there is interdependence. Here, there is a warm and interactive relationship with the partner. On the other hand, we have anxious-preoccupied where the individual would like to be emotionally close with the partner but finds hindrances to this. Therefore, there is a pursuit of responsiveness and approval from the partner (Hazan & Shaver, 1987). Additionally, there is the dismissive-avoidant approach where the partner asserts that they dont need to be emotionally attached and seek high levels of self independence. Finally, there is fearful-avoidant where the person wants to be emotionally close with others but cannot achieve this because they are unable to completely trust or depend on another person. In my perspective, Elijahs and Jaylas relationship is at the anxious-preoccupied stage as both partners seek approval from each other. Elijah seeks to have high levels of responsiveness and intimacy with Jayla while Jayla is interested in being approved of Elijah.


Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. J Pers Soc Psychol 52 (3) , 51124.

Lang, J. (2008). On Course: A Week by Week Guide to Your First Semester of College Teaching. Massachusetts, United States: Harvard University Press.

Moore, W. (2001). Understanding Learning in a Postmodern World: Reconsidering the Perry Scheme of Intellectual and Ethical Development. In B. Hofer, & P. Pintrich, Personal epistemology: the psychology of beliefs about knowledge and knowing. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Perry, W. (1974). Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years: A Scheme. New York: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston.

Perry, W. (1998). Forms of Intellectual and Ethical Development in the College Years: A Scheme. New York: Jossey-Bass.

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