Stewie Griffin is portrayed as a one-year-old Caucasian male, although he could also be five years old as he attends preschool in later episodes. He is also unemployed but shows a keen mastery of mechanical and physical engineering (Lumen Learning, n.d.). Throughout the show, he designs things such as weather control, mind control, teleportation, and fighter jet devices. Stewie does not exhibit clear physical abnormalities, disorders, or illnesses, but there are certain observable health issues. For instance, he is quite hostile towards others, vindictive, and constantly defies authoritative figures and parental rules. Besides, Stewie lives with his parents, Lois and Peter Griffin. Notably, his father, Peter Griffin suffers from mild mental retardation, which was evident after he scored a 70 on an IQ test (Lumen Learning, n.d.). Despite this, Stewie’s parents dictate all aspects of his life, for example planning for playdates, and toys to play with.
Moreover, Stewie shows strong introversion in all social relationships. Currently, he has not established a close relationship or friendship with any of his family members (Lumen Learning, n.d.). This is mostly because he views people, especially his peers, as barriers in his journey toward achieving complete world domination. As a result, he constantly destroys lesser characters using guns, tanks, and other weaponry. It is also important to point out that while there are no consistent patterns of Stewie taking alcohol, he has consumed excessive amounts on various occasions. This poses a significant problem, as excessive use of alcohol for a one-year-old can severely hamper brain development. Stewie’s goal is to achieve world domination by getting rid of his mother first, who he considers to be a barrier. All his daily undertakings are meant to accomplish these objectives mostly through creating weapons like carjacking, forgery, and loan sharking. Despite this, Stewie also shows weaknesses of being an infant such as refusing to eat his vegetables and teething.
Stewie Griffin currently shows various symptoms showing oppositional defiant disorder. For instance, he is quite disobedient towards the authority and believes he is acting in the right manner (McKay, 2015). Stewie is also affected by delusional behaviors like holding conversations with Rupert, his stuffed teddy bear. Throughout the show, he does all he can to protect Rupert and avenges any act of malice directed at his beloved teddy bear. Stewie goes on to deliberately annoy people by constantly highlighting their inabilities and appearances. He even shows resentfulness and anger towards Luis Griffin, his mother, who he feels wrongly punishes her for the things he does to improve himself and achieve world domination. All these factors have made Stewie be a vindictive and spiteful man (McKay, 2015). Lastly, Stewie often uses a scapegoat to mask his failures; for example, when he fails to kill his mother, he blames her claiming that she is bitchy and unfair.
By looking at Peter Griffin, who suffers from mental retardation, it is evident that Stewie’s condition is an inherited family-based health problem (Martin, 2005). Peter has a short attention span and exhibits inappropriate and erratic behavior. Thus, it is conceivable that he suffers from ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Peter also has the frequent habit of trying to show his masculinity as he does not want Lois to fall in love with another man. Like Stewie, a majority of teens and children suffering from this behavioral problem have close family members living with mental disorders, personality complications, and anxiety. That said, there are other environmental factors behind Stewie’s condition such as dysfunctional family life, inconsistent parental disciplinary measures, and substance abuse (Martin, 2005). Likewise, the constant need to do better than his peers has reinforced Stewie’s vengeful behavior. Lastly, from a biological perspective, Stewie’s condition might be the result of injuries or defects to certain parts of the brain, which often cause behavioral disorders. The condition can also be linked to certain chemicals present in the brain known as neurotransmitters. These chemicals facilitate proper communication in the brain’s nerve cells, and when there is an imbalance; messages may not be delivered correctly causing certain behavioral symptoms.
Diagnosis: Oppositional Defiant Disorder
This is a condition where a child is often cranky, defiant, angry, vindictive, and combative towards those in authority. The child’s behavior often disrupts his daily routine, including activities both at school and at home (Nazario, 2020). Professionals in the field of psychology state that it is not surprising or unusual for children in their early teens and ‘terrible twos’ to show defiance towards authority once in a while. Their defiance is seen through disobedience and arguing with teachers, parents, and other adult figures. If such type of behavior lasts more than 6 months, then the child exhibits operational defiant disorder. Research shows that at least 16% of teens and children are suffering from this condition (Ogundele, 2018). For young children, the operational defiant disorder is common among boys. As they grow older, the condition affects both genders on an equal capacity. Note that a majority of children and teens living with this condition have clear behavioral issues such as learning disabilities, attention deficit problems, anxiety disorders, and depression.
By looking at Stewie Griffin, he clearly shows at least four symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder (Lumen Learning, n.d.). He constantly blames others for his mistakes like blaming his dog Brian when he gets caught trying to blow up the kitchen. Stewie also loses his temper in many instances such as cursing and screaming at his mother when he is put in a baby chair. Likewise, Stewie is annoyed by every character and only seems to trust his teddy bear, Rupert, and Brian. This pattern of hostile, defiant behavior and negativism is a clear indicator that Stewie is indeed suffering from oppositional defiant disorder.
Additionally, disturbances in one’s behavior cause clinically significant impairment issues in academic, occupational, and social aspects. Stewie is socially impaired as he fails to nurture and develop his relationship, and instead views his peers as a barrier towards achieving his objectives, and should be defeated by any means possible (Lumen Learning, n.d.). As a result, he has failed to establish any fruitful relationship with other characters outside his family. Another evident symptom of oppositional defiant disorder is that it happens outside the standard levels of development, causing impaired functioning. Stewie’s behavior is not that of a normal one-year-old, and this causes impaired functioning such as coming up with strategies of taking his mother’s life. He is also seen on various occasions making weapons to finally achieve world domination.
Before diagnosing Stewie for Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), he was also showed impulse control impairment. This is a serious mental condition where the person has trouble controlling his behaviors and emotions. Many times, the behavior violates others’ rights and conflicts with the law and societal norms. This is also the tendency to act hastily without thinking. However, while Stewie has acted without thought such as seeking vengeance on his mother, such kind of behavior is quite common among children and is not always an indication of trouble (Lumen Learning, n.d.). In any case, Stewie is a clever boy who mostly seems to make calculated strategies and well-thought moves on those he considers as hindrances to his world domination. He has, therefore, developed an oppositional defiant disorder by being defiant and hostile to those around him. These defiant tendencies are brought about by the endless amount of rules such as when to eat and play (Martin, 2005). These rules have created an urge to finally escape and conquer the world. Unfortunately, to achieve this, he has to kill his mother who he feels is the person responsible for his ‘terrible’ predicament.
Successful intervention and treatment practices for any behavioral condition take place in a specific setting based on the recommendations and assumptions of the medical professional (SAMHSA, 2014). With the knowledge that children like Stewie tend to indulge in inconsequential behavior, without the slightest regard of their varying implications, choosing the best treatment plan will help in understanding the child and provide the conditions necessary for a quick recovery. Here, offering supportive psychological help is crucial to a successful recovery process.
First, many modern treatment interventions and behavioral models consider the family as a crucial part in the social-economic wellbeing of the child (Conger et al., 2010). They also offer useful insights into psychological wellness and assumptions from certain settings within the family. Hence, in Stewie’s case, a psychological treatment plan requires beneficial and supportive relationships based on health psychological, and social practices. Like Stewie, Children who have limited time with their parents because of total absence or separation live a miserable life as they lack certain essential survival needs offered by the family. Hence, Stewie’s aggressive tendencies have only emerged because has no healthy connection with any member of his family other than their dog, Brian. To solve this, therapy, medication, conducting frequent objectives and personality Assessment personality tests are some of the efficient and proven oppositional defiant disorder treatment methods.
When diagnosing oppositional defiant behavior, medical experts draw on their various clinical experiences to assess both their behavior and symptoms. They also use questionnaires in gathering information from different sources, such as teachers and parents. Normally, they look at three behavioral categories, which include irritability and anger, argumentativeness and defiance, and vindictiveness (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). For a child or adult to be diagnosed, he or she should show at least four recurrent symptoms. Similarly, different settings such as school or home can trigger such symptoms. Healthcare experts often categorize the severity of ODD based on the number of settings present. It could be mild for one setting, moderate for two settings, and severe for more than three settings.
Likewise, healthcare professionals will analyze other conditions that cause similar symptoms. For Stewie’s condition, this will include a careful examination of conduct, learning, attention deficit hyperactivity, and anxiety disorders. Sometimes, such conditions occur together with ODD symptoms. However, in other cases, behaviors triggered by other causes can often mimic oppositional defiant tendencies. For instance, people living with autism may have a rigid frame of thought, which creates irritability and defiance but are rarely vindictive. For Stewie, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is the recommended first step to seeking treatment for ODD (Mayo Clinic, n.d.). During these therapy sessions, it is important for the parent to actively participate in the session as it ensures they learn supportive behavioral management techniques. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or (CBT) will also ensure that Stewie replaces his irritability and defiance behavior with positive strategies and calming thoughts. Other objectives of CBT include identifying outbursts consequences and triggers, and learning techniques to regulate one’s emotions. This form of therapy further encourages self-monitoring emotional changes and uses relaxation techniques to help patients stay calm.
Moreover, for Stewie to get better, his parents, Peter and Luis Griffin should change their parental response patterns that encourage unwanted behavior. To do so, they will require parent management training where many parents are taught to pay no attention to attention-seeking behavior and reward appropriate child behavior. For instance, if Stewie uses a tantrum to get something, this training teachers parents to ignore such tantrums when used later. There is also a need for a parent to child interaction therapy sessions where the therapist gets to monitor the level of interaction between parents and their children. For Stewie, this therapeutic session will help in mending the rift between him and his parents. At present, there is conflict and anger directed towards his mother while he seems to share no bond with his father. Finally, Stewie should be taught collaborative problem solving that recognizes that people living with oppositional defiant behavior lack the skills and desire to get along with others. Instead of forcing their beliefs on others, this initiative will teach Stewie how to reach a middle ground using both compromise and proper communication.
For those living with oppositional defiant disorder, medications help in addressing the coexisting health issues (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). For instance, stimulant medication eases the frustrations caused by symptoms of ADHD which in turn decreases symptoms of ODD. These stimulant medications have proven effective in improving ODD symptoms in children like Stewie who suffer from impulsive behavior. Examples of such stimulants include mixed amphetamine salt and methylphenidate. Another effective medication is atypical antipsychotics, which are mainly used in reducing the aggressiveness of ODD (Hamilton & Armando, 2008). Doctors can prescribe in cases where stimulant medication and therapy have failed to work. For Stewie’, this should be the last treatment option as it can result in potentially detrimental hormonal, neurologic and metabolic complications.
Regular Objective Personality Tests
An objective personality test is a psychological assessment used to measure the characteristics of an individual. Here, the beliefs of the examiner do not influence it hence it is said to be free from bias. They usually involve asking a bulk of questions compared and marked against a standard scoring model similar to how school examinations are administered (Ortner & Proyer, 2015).
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
This test follows the personality theory by Carl Jung. Over the years, it has grown into a famous personality assessment technique, especially in non-clinical populations. Unfortunately, though, the method faces notable criticisms for its low reliability and poor statistical validity (Ortner & Proyer, 2015). Despite such concerns, the test continues to provide objective personality assessments across the following bi-polar dimensions. When analyzing Stewie’s condition, will help in evaluating his attitudes to determine whether he is an introvert or extrovert.
Second, it will measure Stewie’s ability to perceive different situations or whether he can interpret or understand new data through intuition (King, 2017). The method will also measure his thinking-feeling or judging function to determine whether he is empathetic or rational when making decisions. Lastly, this self-report measuring technique tries to understand one’s lifestyle preferences (Ortner & Proyer, 2015). How does Stewie relate to the environment in and around him? Does he use the feeling-thinking function, or is he still a perceived individual who trusts his intuition. Other relevant tests include:
- Neo Pi-R
This method is designed to measure a person’s characteristic traits following the five-factor way. Using this model, the five personalities include extroversion, conscientiousness, openness to experience, agreeableness, and neuroticism (Ortner & Proyer, 2015).
This personality factor, self-report measuring inventory, evaluates one’s character using the 16-factor personality theory by Cattell. The technique is quite applicable in clinical settings and assists psychologists and mental health practitioners in providing an accurate diagnosis of various psychiatric disorders. It also helps in therapy planning and prognosis (Ortner & Proyer, 2015).
Personality and Reliability Assessment: The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)
Reliability, in this case, is the overall consistency of a given measure and its capability of producing similar findings under consistent or within the right conditions. Validity is the extent to which a conclusion, measurement, or concept is founded with information that directly corresponds to the real world. Now, different personality assessments today differ when it comes to levels of reliability and validity. Objective tests, such as the Neo Pi-R and Myers-Briggs are considered free from examination bias or influence. As such, they are said to be more valid as compared to the projective tests. The only challenge with objective criteria is their overreliance on individuals providing authentic and accurate information on their character and behavior.
To account for these weaknesses, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory tests have been adopted to help in collecting credible data in both non-clinical and clinical populations This includes reliability and validity scales together with the standard clinical scales. In the validity scale, there is the Lie Scale, which has fifteen items that help ascertain whether the examinee is providing fake psychological problems to appear healthier. An excellent example of such a scenario is when someone says that they have never committed an offense or lied, just to look better than others (Ortner & Proyer, 2015).
On the other hand, reliability scales the consistency of the instrument over time. This is meant to ensure that if the MMPI test is administered on someone today, then five years later, the data collected should be 100% similar. Interestingly, in a past case study, the test was conducted on a group of police officers (Ortner & Proyer, 2015). This first trial showed that they were susceptible to alcoholism, anxiety, and somatic symptoms. Once the same test was administered two years later, it found the same individuals to suffer from a high risk of alcoholism and related complications.
Moreover, many of the first MMPI model limitations were later corrected in the updated MMP1-2, increasing their overall usefulness. For instance, the first MMP1 was for clinical applications only with normative samples consisting of patients with psychiatric conditions. In the MMP1-2, however, normative samples represent a broad demographic, thereby expanding its application mode. Other tests, like the ‘Eysenck Personality Questionnaire,’ were created to provide excellent validity and reliability (Ortner & Proyer, 2015). There is also a huge chunk of research demonstrating the rational use of this personality self-report measure. As previously mentioned, there are different types of objective personality assessments. The second edition MMPI is now the most preferred method because of its accuracy. Despite the advantages seen in these personality tests, sadly, they are also marred by a significant number of disadvantages. These strengths and weaknesses include:
This is one of the growing disadvantages of using the objective personality test. Unlike other tests which provide simple insights into a person’s character, objective criteria like MMP1-2 determine outcome and predictions of treatment for the patient. This often takes a lot of time, considering the MMP1-2 contains almost 570 items to review (Ortner & Proyer, 2015).
- Time and Cost
This is one key advantage of using objective personality tests. They are quite cost-effective and use paper sources that can be kept in a simple filling system or a machine. Furthermore, they are carried out at the discretion of the patient. This makes them more convenient than projective tests, which require professional use of testing equipment. Hence, unlike objective assessments, projective tests do not allow patients to carry equipment or questionnaires home and return them later (Ortner & Proyer, 2015).
- They Are ‘Objective’
Just like the name states, these objective tests are direct, making the collection of data quite simple. They also remove the possibility of biasness from the examiner. While this is a huge benefit, scorers should be vigilant in correcting score procedures to avoid awful cases of misdiagnoses (Ortner & Proyer, 2015).
- The Risk of False Information
There is a possibility that the one taking the test may provide incorrect or fake information. While a method like the MMPI-2 has taken significant measures to prevent this from happening using its validity scale, others like the Myers-Briggs are vulnerable to lies, misinformation, and biasness (Ortner & Proyer, 2015).
Lastly, note that objective tests like self-report measures are some of the best and reliable methods of measuring an individual’s personality. Therefore, it is not surprising that many psychologists and medical practitioners are using them to identify and treat mental disorders like that of Stewie. Outside the clinical perspective, they are also crucial in evaluating performance levels among employees in large and small organizations. However, there is still room for improving these tests. For instance, they are too rigid by only prescribing ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers and should be carefully modified to incorporate additional opinions or information.
Any normal person watching family guy would agree that Stewie Griffin is growing in a rather abnormal way, compared to his average peers. On the other hand, someone with knowledge in behavioral psychology will see that Stewie is suffering from oppositional defiant disorder. Stewie is a cartoon character introduced to assist in breaking the barrier of normal growth and development for babies. He even shows the perceived inability of an infant through the eyes of their parents. Conclusively, this show explains oppositional defiant disorder by creating a strong character that exhibits every aspect or symptom of this disorder. Even though Stewie fails to accurately portray the average one-year-old, he is still a child and infant suffering from this serious mental health condition. Thus, to effectively mitigate this problem, Stewie and his parents should take part in cognitive behavioral therapy together with other engaging therapeutic sessions. He should also be provided with the right medications followed by constant personality tests to prevent the occurrence of related mental complications in the future.
King, S. P. (2017). Myers Briggs Type Indicator. ResearchGate, 7-26.
Lumen Learning . (n.d.). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Retrieved from courses.lumenlearning.com: https://courses.lumenlearning.com/abnormalpsychology/chapter/oppositional-defiant-disorder/
MARTIN, C. J. (2005). FAMILY GUY: TEXTUAL DEVICES AND MASCULINE VICES . https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/martin_carson_j_200505_ma.pdf, 2-20. Retrieved from https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/martin_carson_j_200505_ma.pdf: https://getd.libs.uga.edu/pdfs/martin_carson_j_200505_ma.pdf
Mayo Clinic. (n.d.). Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD). Retrieved from www.mayoclinic.org: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/oppositional-defiant-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20375831
McKay, K. (2015, May 20). Stewe Griffin. Retrieved from prezi.com/: https://prezi.com/6ebioznpyztb/stewie-griffin/
Nazario, B. (2020, September 22). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Retrieved from www.webmd.com: https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/oppositional-defiant-disorder
Ogundele, M. O. (2018). Behavioural and emotional disorders in childhood: A brief overview for paediatricians. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5803568/, 9-26.
Rand D. Conger, K. J. (2010). Socioeconomic Status, Family Processes, and Individual Development. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2910915/, 685-704.
S. Sutton Hamilton, J. A. (2008). Oppositional Defiant Disorder. https://www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1001/afp20081001p861.pdf, 1-6.
SAMHSA. (2014). Trauma-Informed Care in Behavioral Health Services. https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma14-4816.pdf, 3-33.
Tuulia M. Ortner, R. P. (2015). Objective Personality Tests. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281348171_Objective_Personality_Tests, 1-36.