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Psychology Applied to John Q. Archibald

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This case study explores how a sudden life change affects certain behaviors and psychological changes in an individual. In the film, “John Q.”, the main character, John Q. Archibald, who is played by Denzel Washington, experiences a sudden life change when his son, Michael Archibald, is suddenly diagnosed with cardiomegaly. Cardiomegaly is an abnormal enlargement of the heart and requires a heart transplant for long term survival. In the beginning of the movie, John Q. Archibald’s wife’s car was repossessed due to non-payment, his hours were reduced at work, and he could not find a second job to support his family.

The Board of Directors at the hospital informed John Q. Archibald that his medical insurance would not cover the $250k heart transplant surgery, and if he could not come up with at least $75k, his son Michael will die. John Q. Archibald tried selling most of his belongings, filing an appeal with his insurance company, reaching out to the church, and going to the news, but he did not acquire enough money needed for the surgery. John Q. Archibald’s wife informed him that the hospital will be releasing their son to die at home, and she demands that he “does something.”

Archibald is not willing to accept the dire fate of his son, so he takes Michael’s cardiologist and everyone in the emergency room hostage in a desperate attempt to save Michael’s life. Archibald was falsely led into believing his son was on the transplant list, so he could be assassinated by the police. When faced with knowing his son was not on the list, he attempted to commit suicide in order for his son to receive his heart and live.

II. Background Information:

John Q. Archibald is a married African American male with one son nam...

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...rationally, which resulted in “catastrophic thinking.” In order to cope with his tremendous amount of stress, Archibald made an attempt to give up by attempting suicide, so his son could have his heart. Although several people tried to convince him not to kill himself, his catastrophic thinking and behavior was not eliminated until his wife informed him that his son would be receiving a heart within the next few minutes. John Q. Archibald then returned to his normal state of mind, let the hostages go, and turned himself in to authorities.

Works Cited

John Q. Dir. Nick Cassavetes. By James Kearns. Perf. Denzel Washington. New Line Cinema, 2002. DVD.

Lloyd, Margaret A., Dana S. Dunn, and Elizabeth Y. Hammer. Psychology Applied to Modern Life: Adjustment in the 21st Century. By Wayne Weiten. 9th ed. Australia: Wadsworth Cengage Learning, 2009. 75-137. Print.
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