Case study: Abel Tesfaye Development Project - Period 3


Full name — Abel Makkonen Tesfaye

Born on February 16, 1990 in Scarborough, Ontario, Canada to Ethiopian immigrants Samra and Makkonen Tesfaye.

His first language was Amharic, which is spoken in his parents' native country (Ethiopia).

The album cover for Trilogy (2011)

Social Development


He did not have a lot of contact with his father, who left his family when he was just a toddler. This prompted his maternal grandmother to take care of him.


Abel dropped out before completing high school at 17 in order to further pursue a promising music career. While he was in school, he was never shy about displaying his vocal talents and started recording when he was still in school. After dropping out, he continued to explore music and released House of Balloons in 2011 and began working with Drake after the release of two popular mixtapes.

He started smoking marijuana at age 11 and later moved onto hard drugs in high school. He shoplifted frequently and began using MDMA, Xanax, cocaine, psilocybin, and ketamine.


He accepts his past and even his dropout status through his stage name "The Weeknd". He adopted this name after he and a friend "dropped out, and left one weekend and never came home."

Physical Development

Abel had no notable physical conditions growing up, but his continued alcohol and drug use from adolescence has impacted his health in a negative way since he started them.

In late 2015, he was reported as having a busted vein in his eye after vomiting too much due to alcohol consumption in a party in Toronto.

Abel has also had to cancel many concerts and shows for being unwell due to his drug use.

Tesfaye is 5'8 and is normal weight.

Cognitive Development

Abel speaks three languages. Amharic was his first, learned because of his grandmother's influence and his church. He then learned English and French through childhood living in Canada.

Sensorimotor (0-2)

Not much is known about Abel at this stage, but this is when object permanence and separation anxiety developed.

Preoperational (2-6)

Abel's father left during this stage. Due to the inability to think logically, this could've affected him on that level because he may not have understood why at that age.

Concrete operational (7-12)

This is when Abel obtained the ability to think logically. This impacted his decision-making and possibly led to the start of his drug habits.

Formal operational (12-adult)

This is when the child can start to think about the future, so Abel's decision making may have been impacted by what he will want to do. This may have pressured him into doing drugs, and dropping out of high school at seventeen in order to focus on what he truly wanted to do (music).

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