systematic judgments , sociology homework help

Case Study: Bridget

Bridget is 22 years old and a drug addict. Her
parents were divorced in her early teens. She changed high schools three times.
Her father is an alcoholic and her mother is clinically depressed. She has been
in jail nine times and she has been in and out of hospitals for the past five
years with various illnesses. Her boyfriend physically abuses her. For the past
three years, Bridget has been involved in illegal activities to get money for
drugs or to get drugs. Right now she is a convicted felon, and she could
receive a sentence of six months in the penitentiary or six months on
probation. She wrote bad checks and was caught with drug paraphernalia. Bridget
has just found out that she is pregnant. She does not know who the father is. Bridget
has a brother and two sisters. She grew up in a suburban neighborhood. In her
early teens, her dad admitted that he was an alcoholic. He left home to “get
some help” but never came back. He divorced Bridget’s mother two years later.
The family had to move out of the neighborhood into a smaller house. They had
to move again to a house that charged less rent. Changing schools with each move,
Bridget began to use drugs to help her belong to an “in” crowd.

· 
What are your first quick impressions of Bridget
based upon her appearance, verbal behavior, actions, nonverbal messages, and
information about the situation?

· 
Why do you think you made those first quick
impressions?

Bridget moved out of her mother’s house during her
senior year and moved in with her father. Bridget’s father was dating every
night and he knew only a little about what Bridget was doing. She was using
drugs daily, including marijuana, cocaine, and crystal meth—and she was now
living with her boyfriend. Bridget worked at a local grocery store. Her
boyfriend was selling and using drugs. Bridget attended school sporadically.
She graduated and passed the local and state tests. After graduation, she continued
living with her boyfriend. Her work record was irregular and she kept changing
jobs. At the age of 20, Bridget and her boyfriend traveled to Mexico to buy
drugs. Their plan was to buy the drugs and then sell them in the United States.
Bridget made the trip to Mexico successfully. But on the return trip, she was
stopped by the police just after she crossed the border. She was jailed for
possession. She called her family, but they decided that they would leave her
in jail for one night. Bridget was released on bail. Her boyfriend was already
out of jail on bail. They found their car and unloaded the drugs that the
police did not find. She was arrested soon after that, but she had a false I.D.
The police ran the I.D., discovered who she was, and then arrested her again.

· 
What are your more systematic judgments of
Bridget?

· 
How have these changed from your first
impressions? Why do you think that these impressions changed?

Bridget
stayed out of jail for three months. She then was arrested for prostitution.
This time she spent almost four months in jail. She was placed on probation and
lived in a halfway house. During that time she received a chip in Alcoholics
Anonymous for100 days of sobriety. Bridget decided that she would move back
home, so she began to live with her mother. She got a job, paid rent to her
mother, and then moved into her apartment. She took her boyfriend back. Before
long, she began using drugs again. Her boyfriend continued his physical abuse.
She lost her job for irregular attendance and spent her money on drugs. That
summer Bridget was hospitalized with pneumonia. Her physical health had
deteriorated. She weighed only 90 pounds, and she had lost most of her hair and
some of her teeth. While she was in the hospital many of her family came to
visit. They all wanted to help her. Bridget refused. All that she could think
about was going back to her boyfriend and the drugs.

· 
Do you think that Bridget is responsible for her
situation (internal attribution) or is her environment responsible? Explain the
rationale for your answer.

· 
How does “fundamental attribution error” apply to
your thoughts about Bridget?

Once Bridget was out of the hospital, she moved in
with two friends. Her boyfriend joined her there. She continued to use drugs.
She stole checks, food, and medicine. Bridget sold the drugs that she didn’t use.
She was arrested again. In jail, she tried to commit suicide. The police took
her to the hospital. She was placed on suicide watch. During a routine physical
exam, Bridget found out that she was pregnant. She waited three months for a
court date. She was placed in rehabilitation for six months and on probation
for three years. It is clear that if she violates the law again, she will go to
prison. Currently Bridget is four months pregnant and has no idea who the
father of her child is. She is in rehabilitation. Her mother comes to visit
her. Right now she is clean.

· 
To which social categories does Bridget belong?
To which social categories do you belong?

· 
In what ways is Bridget in your “in” group and
your “out” group? How does this influence your impressions of her and how would
this influence your initial assessment of her?

· 
Did you or could you stereotype Bridget after
reading the first two paragraphs? Describe the stereotype. After knowing a more
complete story, does the stereotype remain?

How will knowledge about forming impressions of
others influence your work as a case manager?