Alex manages several car washes that his family owns. He works long hours every day. His father instilled a strong work ethic in him from the time he was little, and Alex’s family depends on him to take care of the car washes. His parents expect him to make good money for the family and show approval for his hard work. Alex is in his late 20’s and has not really found time to date or spend time with friends because he is so busy with work. He occasionally stays in touch with some friends that he partied with from high school. To help stay energized and focused on his work all day, Alex is using stimulants and other illicit drugs to give him energy. He knows that he needs to stop doing this, but has trouble getting through the long workdays in his natural state.
Theory 1 Alex is struggling with issues from his childhood. He has identified with his father and absorbed his work ethic, feeling as if manhood is contingent upon working hard. His workaholic lifestyle could also be a defense mechanism whereby he avoids developing intimate relationships with others and growing up.
Theory 2 Alex is imitating his father who has been his role model growing up. He has been classically conditioned to associate working hard with being a man. He continues to be reinforced to work hard by receiving approval from his family and having money to spend.
Theory 3 Deep down, Alex knows what he really wants and needs in life. He needs to receive unconditional positive regard whereby people stop placing expectations on him and accept him the way he is. His only chance at reaching self-actualization in his life is to learn to follow his own path.
Theory 4 Alex has likely inherited being hard working genetically. It is built into him from his parents and if he were not working hard at the family’s car washes, he would likely be working hard doing something else. He also may likely have a genetic predisposition towards addictive behaviors. If this is something he was born with, it might be a struggle that he always faces.
For each theoretical interpretation of the scenario, what theory does it best represent (psychodynamic, learning approaches, humanistic approach, or trait theories). Please justify your answer.
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