Life Span Development and Personality

This paper will discuss the life span of a business man, movie producer, aviator, and billionaire, Howard Hughes. It will also explain the psychological development and personality characteristics of the young man that was raised by a financially driven father, and mentally disturbed mother. Mother and Father Howard Hughes was born in 1905 in Houston, Texas to Howard Hughes Sr. and Allene Hughes. Allene Hughes was the biggest influence on Howard junior’s life; she constantly worried about the germs and sickness that her son came in contact with. Allene Hughes suffered from the mental disorder Obsessive Compulsion Disorder (OCD).

Howard Hughes Sr. spent most of his time following oil rigs and trying to improve the process of drilling into rock. In 1908/1909 Hughes Sr. invented a drill bit that would penetrate rock, which later made him a millionaire. Hughes Sr. was the owner of Hughes Tool Company. Howard Hughes Junior attended private schools in Boston, where his interest in academics were lacking, and just as his father was mesmerized by anything mechanical. Against his mothers’ wishes, Howard Junior built a bicycle with a motor, later called the motorcycle. Orphaned In 1922, Allene Hughes went into the hospital for minor surgery, but never woke up.

Allene Hughes died at 39 years of age, and Howard Junior lost his mother when he was only 16. The death of wife and mother caused a tremendous amount of grief for Howard Sr. , and Jr. Life changed for them, but especially Howard Junior. His father was unable to recover from the death of his wife, and spent the next couple of years subjected Howard Junior to many women, looking for that same happiness again. In January 1924, Howard Senior was working at his desk when he suffered a heart attack and died at age 54. At age 18, Howard Junior was an orphan, and the owner of 75% of his father’s company, making him a very rich young man.

Since Howard was not considered to be an adult an unable to make business decisions, he went to court and convinced the judge that he should be declared an adult so that he could run his own affairs. Soon after the judge granted his request, Howard bought all the shares to the company from his relatives, which made him the sole owner of Howard Tool Company, which made a very nice amount of money that he used as a foundation for his future fortune. In 1925 a will was made that stated upon his death, all of his money was to be put into a medical research facility. Movies to Aviation

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Howard was not satisfied with just running the business that his father had left him, so after his marriage to Ella Rice in 1925, they moved to Hollywood California where he would try his hand at making movies with his uncle Rupert. In the beginning of his movie career, there were two or so flops, but soon he directed the film “Two Arabian Nights” which won the Academy Award. He went on to do “The Outlaw, Scarface, and Hells Angels”. During the making of the Hells Angels movie, Hughes became fascinated with flying, and received his pilot’s license. Not only did he fly, in 1932 he founded the Hughes Aircraft Company.

Later, the military would hire him to build a large plane that would carry troops overseas; this plane was called the “Spruce Goose”. In 1938 he financed the creation of the Boeing 307, and was the beginning of the Transcontinental and West Airlines, later called TWA. This was his most profitable investment, earning him $540 million. He sold the airline in 1966. He used the earnings from the airlines to form the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. He used this medical facility to put all of his money into, to prevent the IRS from finding it. The End As far back as birth, Hughes was continually inventing or perfecting an invention.

After many failed attempts, caused by his obsessive need to be perfect, Hughes suffered a mental breakdown. The obsessive compulsive disorder worsened, and the stress of inheriting his father’s company at an early age caused anxiety and paranoia became evident when he required phone taps, and private investigators. Like his mother he became obsessed with germs with continuous hand washing, and using napkins or Kleenex to touch objects and open doors. In 1950 Hughes was rarely seen in public. He left the United States and moved from country to country, and in 1972 Hughes Tool Company, his father’s company, was sold.

His obsession to control his surroundings led him to be a bitter old recluse. He became weakened by the lack of food, and the effects of drug use. On a plane in 1976, flying from Mexico to Houston for treatment, Hughes dies at age 71. Because of his choices later in life, his body was unrecognizable and could only be identified through fingerprints. Conclusion Despite his mental disorders, Howard Hughes accomplished many great things. Best known for his production of movies, and aviation, his mental illness proved to be his undoing.

Most diagnostics were done after his death; therefore there is no way of knowing if medical treatment would have helped him. Although he may have inherited OCD from his mother, it is also believed that his contraction of syphilis in 1930 also played a part in his mental stability. In 1976, Dr. Raymond Fowler, the President of the American Psychology Association, was asked to do a psychological evaluation from what he knew and read of Howard Hughes. After the long study Fowler concluded that “Hughes was not psychotic, he was just a disturbed man”.

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