Self-Esteem of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Compared with Hearing Adolescents in Slovenia – The Context of Social and Communication Factors

Self-Esteem of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Compared with Hearing Adolescents in Slovenia – The... Objective: The study focuses on the selfesteem of deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) and hearing adolescents (HA) in Slovenia. The aim of this study is a comparison of self-esteem between D/HH and HA regarding the hearing status, age, gender, and the comparison among D/HH adolescents regarding communication and education settings. It is hypothesized that deaf and hard of hearing adolescents have lower self-esteem than their hearing peers. Methods: The final sample included 130 adolescents who were split into two groups with the method of equal pairs: 65 D/HH adolescents and 65 HA, which were established on the basis of gender, age, nationality, and educational programme of schooling. The phenomenon of self-esteem was measured with the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, which was translated and adapted into the Slovenian Sign Language (SSL). Results: The results show significant differrences in self-esteem between D/HH and HA adolescents. D/HH adolescents have, on average, lower self-esteem than HA. There are differences in self-esteem regarding gender and also regarding ages of 16 and of 20. Coresponding address: Damjana KOGOVSEK Faculty of Education Kardeljeva pl.16; 1000 Ljubljana Slovenia E-mail: damjana.kogovsek@pef.uni-lj.si JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION / . / . : . . : / . : , , D/HH adolescents who use speech or sign language in their communication have higher self-esteem than those who use mostly sign language. D/HH adolescents in mainstream schools have higher self-esteem than those included into a segregated form of schooling. Discussion: There are differences among adolescents in how they view themselves. Selfesteem can be a significant predictor of life satisfaction. Conclusion: D/HH adolescents experience lower self-esteem when compared with HA peers. Keywords: self-esteem, deaf and hard of hearing adolescents, hearing adolescents Introduction The way in which young people understand and perceive themselves, their own personality, has a powerful effect on their subsequent reactions to various life events. The crucial dilemma for an individual adolescent who wishes to be fully integrated into the society is that between "playing appropriate roles" and "selfhood" (1). Adolescence is defined by rapid psychological, social, and physiological development and for deaf and hard of hearing (D/HH) adolescents this period is crucial, while they confront the challenges of being deaf in hearing society (2). In this article, the term "deaf" is used as an audiological term and refers to the full range of deaf and hard of hearing individuals who have some degree of hearing loss. What is self-esteem and how do we build it? Why is it so important and essential for our lives and the lives of deaf and hard of hearing people? These questions are still open to debate among different researchers. Research studies on self-esteem and deafness provide a lot of inconsistent findings. Some studies have found a higher incidence of low self-esteem among deaf individuals than among hearing individuals, where deafness itself directly influences self-esteem (3­5). Other studies indicate that prejudice does not certainly lead to lower self- esteem (5,6), but strong familial, . ,, " ,, " (1). , , , (2). ,," . ? ? ¢ . . , (3­5). , , (5,6) , SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES (5). , . , (7). , (7­9). Rosenberg ,, , ". , ,, , , " (10: . 15). , , (5,11). Bat-Chava (12) : , , (13) . / . / , , , , (14). /. (14,15). , , (16). , , , (16). social, and cultural influences play a key role in supporting self-esteem (5). In the recent literature, the importance of satisfaction with life and individual's self-esteem are emphasized as essential indicators of quality of life and well-being. Self-esteem refers to one's general evaluation or assessment of the self, including feelings of self-worth (7). Self-esteem is defined as positive feelings toward oneself, as personal opinion of self and it represents a foundational aspect of quality of life (7­9). Rosenberg defines a person with high self-esteem "as one who does not consider himself better than most of the others but neither does he/she consider himself worse". In contrast, the term low selfesteem means "the individual lacks respect for himself, and considers himself unworthy, inadequate or otherwise seriously deficient as a person" (10: p15). Individuals with higher levels of self-esteem are more able to cope with stressful life events, while lower levels of selfesteem are associated with more loneliness, depression, and peer rejection (5,11). Bat-Chava (12) noted four factors, which are the main promoters of self-esteem of deaf people; status of hearing, family environment, (13) and group school environment identification. It is important to understand the factors that contribute to and participate in the self-esteem of the D/HH, and ways to improve self-esteem. D/HH adolescents experience more difficulties regarding their self-esteem because they often face multiple and complex challenges, such as speech and language delays, communication problems, and less or no access to the hearing and dominated world (14). These problems can potentially affect D/HH level of self-esteem. Well-developed language and communication skills have been linked to higher levels of self-esteem (14,15). Self-esteem is an important concept, which has a powerful impact on human cognition, motivation, emotion, and behaviour (16). A number of factors may protect and strengthen the self-esteem of deaf people like the mode of communication at home, the type of schooling prior to college, the age of onset of JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION (12,13,17), , / . Bat-Chava (12,15) 42 , , , , . , / . . , , ; . . Desselle (15), 53 / 13 19 . , . Van Gurp (15,18) 66 / / . . . . , , . Sarfaty and Katz (18), / deafness (16). According to earlier theories of self-esteem and deafness (12,3,17), a short review of available empirical studies focusing on the education, communication and development of self-esteem in D/HH adolescents is given below. Bat-Chava (12,15) reviewed 42 empirical studies which assessed the effect of six constructs on self-esteem, like hearing status, parental hearing status, type of school, communication mode used at home and at school, and group identification. Many of the earlier studies in general showed low selfesteem among D/HH individuals. The studies which took the previously mentioned variables into consideration showed different results. The review also indicated that children of deaf parents had a higher level of self-esteem than children of hearing parents; self-esteem was higher among those deaf people whose parents used sign language at home compared to those whose parents preferred an oral language. The analysis of the significance of school and the method of communication showed no significant results. According to Desselle (15), the importance of family communication patterns for the development of self-esteem in 53 D/HH children between 13 and 19 years of age who had hearing parents was examined. Children whose parents used spoken language, finger spelling, and sign language to communicate with them had higher self-esteem than children whose parents only used spoken language. Van Gurp (15,18) examined 66 D/HH children attending secondary schools in order to assess the influence of different educational settings on the D/HH children's self-concept. Children attending integrated schools also had better selfperception as regards their reading skills than children in special schools. There was no difference between self-concept and the form of communication used by the children. There were significant differences in self-esteem. The highest values of self-esteem belonged to the segregated and hearing group, followed by the SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES (, ) . Crowe (5,15) 200 18 49 . . , . , : . Leigh . (2) 57 . , , . , . , . . , . (9) , . , . hard of hearing, and the lowest values belonged to the mainstreamed deaf students. According to Sarfaty and Katz (18), a study comparing selfconcept of D/HH students in different educational settings (in segregated, resource, and mainstreamed settings) indicated no significant differences among the three groups in the self-acceptance scale scores. Crowe (5,15) carried out a study on 200 deaf people between 18 and 49 years of age. Her aim was to explore whether self-esteem scores differ significantly among deaf college students when comparing gender and parents' signing ability. The findings of the study showed no connection between age, gender, and self-esteem. A significant connection was reported between self-esteem and the parents' hearing status, their use of sign language, and their proficiency in it: deaf people with at least one deaf parent had a higher sense of self-esteem. Leigh et al. (2) carried out a research on psychosocial adjustment of 57 deaf adolescents with and without cochlear implants. Their results showed that the group of deaf adolescents whose hearing loss was detected earlier had higher scholastic self-esteem and were also more satisfied with home communication. The importance of communication at home showed that satisfaction with home communication was positively related to hearing acculturation and scholastic self-esteem, social competence selfesteem, and satisfaction with life. It can be noticed that when parents are hearing, earlier intervention leads to easier communication at home, and to greater comfort in social and academic environments. That means that better communication skills promote higher competence and increased self-esteem. Students attending mainstream settings also reported higher self-esteem. A number of studies (9) suggest that boys and girls diverge in their self-esteem, especially in the transition period from childhood to adolescence. Psychosocial development influences self-esteem in hearing children, where it is reported that male adolescents have JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION . WarnerCzyz . (9, 19) , , . Warner-Czyz . (9) , , . , Percy-Smith . (20) , (9). ¢, . (15). , , / ( ) . , / () . 4706 . / : / , ? more positive self-esteem than female adolescents. Gender differences in self-esteem change with age. Warner-Czyz et al. (9, 19) reported more positive self-esteem for younger versus older children using cochlear implants and also found age-related reductions in selfesteem in children with hearing loss in mainstream educational settings, implying characteristic changes in childhood self-esteem endure across auditory status. Warner-Czyz et al. (9) documented two studies, which explored the impact of gender on how children with hearing loss felt about themselves, where results showed that preadolescent girls and boys with cochlear implants rated self-esteem equivalently, and mirroring identical ratings of self-esteem in peers with normal hearing. In contrast, PercySmith et al. (20) reported that females with cochlear implants rated self-esteem more positively than males, which contradicted general trends in hearing peers (9). Overall, these studies indicate that good communicative conditions in the early years and related experiences of acceptance are significant factors in the development of self-esteem. Well-developed language and communication skills have been linked to higher levels of self-esteem (15). Although some common findings among these studies can be identified, the accurate comparison of results is difficult because different measurement scales, different groups of D/HH individuals (based on audio logical or social classifications), and different methodologies were used and examined. In summary, this study was part of a larger study that examined the different risk factors among D/HH and hearing adolescents (HA) in Slovenia and the aspect of Deaf identity. Information about HA was gathered from a general Slovenian population of 4706 adolescents. This article presents a study of selfesteem among D/HH adolescents and HA that addressed the question: Is self-esteem among D/HH adolescents significantly different when compared with HA regarding gender, age? Is SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES / , ? , . , ( / ) 15 20 . . , ( , , , , 10 , ). self-esteem significantly different among deaf and hard of hearing adolescents regarding communication, and education settings? For a better understanding, we present some information regarding the schooling of the deaf in Slovenia. Education in secondary school can last from two to five years, depending on the type of educational programme (explained in methods / description of the participants) and from the ages of 15­20 years. Deaf and hard of hearing adolescents in Slovenia can be educated in special schools for the deaf and hard of hearing or they can attend regular schools with most of their hearing peers all over the country. Special schools for deaf and hard of hearing are more adapted to the hearing loss population, but the school program can be with equal standardlike it is in all other schools (e.g. methods of teaching, using sign language in class, sign language interpreter, smaller group up to 10 students, possibility of professional help by a team of different specialists, and longer period of schooling). 130 : 65 / 65 . , , . . (100%), / (81,5%). 16 20 . 1 2 / . / , , ( Method Participants The study included 130 adolescents: 65 D/HH and 65 HA. Equal pairs were established on the basis of gender, age, nationality, and educational programme of schooling. All youth included in the sample were of Slovenian nationality. All parents of HA youth were hearing (100%) as well as most of the D/HH respondents' parents were hearing (81.5%). The sample included adolescents from 16 to 20 years of age. Table 1 and Table 2 show the characteristics of all D/HH and H participants. The D/HH sample according to the degree of hearing loss was defined on the basis of the formal documentation of The Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport (The Rules on the organization and method of work of commissions for placement of children with special needs and the criteria for identifying the type and level of handicap JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION ); / . 1. or disorders of children with special needs); the communication mode in D/HH group of adolescents was divided into those who use SSL or speech and SSL. Table 1: Characteristics of all participants / Hearing status / / / HA / Total D/HH (%) / Number of adolescents (%) / female / Gender / male 16 / 16 years 17 / 17 years / 18 / 18 years Age 19 / 19 yeas 20 / 20 years / lower vocational education / / vocational education School programme / technical or vocational school / high school 130 (100%) 72 (55.4%) 58 (44.6%) 20 (15.4%) 28 (21.5%) 36 (27.7%) 24 (18.5%) 22 (16.9%) 22 (16.9%) 90 (69.2%) 14 (10.8%) 4 (3.1%) Table 2: Characteristics of adolescents with hearing loss 65 (100%) 22 (33.8%) 43 (66.2%) 12 (9.2%) 53 (40.8%) 13 (20.0%) 35 (53.8%) 17 (26.2%) 59 (90.8%) 6 (9.2%) / Number of adolescents with hearing loss (%) / deaf (> 91 dB) / Degree of hearing loss / hard of hearing (< 91 dB) / SSL / Communication mode at home / speech and SSL / SSL / / speech and SSL Communication mode at school / speech / special / Educational settings / mainstream , . 63/05/02. , . As mentioned, this study was part of a larger study. Approval for the study was obtained by the National Medical Ethics Committee at the Ministry of Health under number 63/05/02. Before the assessment started, all adolescents were assured that their responses would be anonymous. SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES (21). / 0 ( ) 4 ( ), (7). () (7,16,22) 10 , , . (23). 0 40, . . 4706 , , . / , / . , - () 50 () 10. . ; / = 0.77 to 0.88 (5), = 0.79 (24); , - / = 0.62 = 0.78 . Warner-Czyz . (9), 38 Measures The Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (21) was used. D/HH and H adolescents evaluated the self-esteem scale on 5-point response format from 0 (strongly disagree) to 4 (strongly agree), although the original scale is defined as a four-step scale (7). The original Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (RSES) (7,16,22) contains ten items, five of which are expressed as positive and five that are in the negative form. The RSES measures how the individual feels about himself and it is scored as a whole (23). The scores range from 0 to 40, with higher scores representing high expression of selfesteem. This is a widely used self-esteem scale that has been validated as being a good tool for assessing global self-esteem. Information about hearing adolescents was gathered from a general Slovenian sample of 4706 adolescents, where RSES was carefully assessed and represents a standardized scale for hearing individuals in Slovenia. Despite the fact that a group of D/HH adolescents constituted a sample, which is not a subject to standardized tests used for hearing, for the purpose of our research, we used the scale of self-esteem in order to get an indicative picture of D/HH adolescents' self-esteem. According to these facts and the aim of the present study, the data was converted to T-scores using a scale with a mean (M) set at 50 and a standard deviation (SD) at 10. These transformed scores allowed a direct comparison between groups and individual relative position in the whole group and for this reasons the results were higher than on the original scale. The reliability of the self-esteem scale was checked by Cronbach alpha coefficient; coefficient to the original versions of the scales of self-esteem for the D/HH is = 0.77 to 0.88 (5) and for HA is = 0.79 (24); in our sample, the value of Cronbach alpha coefficient for D/HH was = 0.62 and = 0.78 for HA. In a research by Warner-Czyz et al. (9), the reliability of the RSES in adolescents extended JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION , , , 0,45 0,90 , = 0.62. , , , / . ( , ) , . . , , . , . . , . -, / . / across gender, race, ethnicity, and nationnalities, with Cronbach's alpha values ranging from 0.45 to 0.90 across countries, which is similar and satisfactory to our reliability results, where = 0.62. The reliability of the test depended also on the nature and purpose of the instruments, sample size, captured in the survey, and the variability of the matter, while D/HH population was a very heterogeneous population. The content validity of the results collected by the questionnaire was evaluated by three independent experts (a pre-lingual deaf teacher, a teacher of the Slovenian Language and interpreter of Slovenian Sign Language, and a teacher for the deaf and hard of hearing) who had knowledge of deafness and hearing loss, as well as experience in working with deaf and hard of hearing population. We considered those issues in which a sufficient degree of consistency between evaluators was present. Based on their corrections, we made the final written version of the questionnaire in the Slovenian language with a simpler structure of sentences, which was translated into Slovenian Sign Language. It should be noted that we experienced several difficulties in translating the content into Slovenian Sign Language, mainly due to some unknown words, and because of the abstraction of some of the concepts covered by the scale. This kind of study is the first attempt of a translation and adaptation of an English test into Slovenian Sign Language. At the same time, we must emphasize the fact that at that time the Institute for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Ljubljana employed only one prelingual deaf teacher who participated in our translation and adaptation of the instrument. Procedures After a pilot testing, the final written version was delivered to D/HH adolescents. The research was conducted entirely at the Institute for the Deaf in Ljubljana, both for D/HH teens who were involved in special education and SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES / . , , / . / . ( -). (21). SPSS- ( 18.0). : ; , , -; ( ). for integrated D/HH teens. With the permission of school principals, parents and adolescents, we invited D/HH adolescents to participate in the research. The D/HH students responded to the questionnaire in school. Those deaf adolescents whose first language was SSL needed the interpreter to translate the written Slovenian version into SSL (which might result in lower values of Cronbach alpha coefficient). The completing of the questionnaire by hearing adolescents was mostly carried out individually under the supervision of research crew-members (21). The data was analysed with the SPSS program (version 18.0). We used the following statistical procedures: descriptive analysis of the variables; the differences between average values of RSES regarding gender, age, communication mode at home, and education settings were tested by ttest; for the analysis of communication mode at school the robust tests of equality of means (Welch test) was used. / , 3. , / (73,31) (76,66). - (t = -3.285, df = 128, p = 0.001); (r= 0.28). 3. () / Hearing status N Results Effect of hearing status on self-esteem The first analysis compared self-esteem between D/HH and H adolescents, as shown in Table 3. On average, the D/HH adolescents had lower self-esteem (73.31) than H adolescents (76.66). The t-test for independent samples was used to determine statistically significant differences (t = -3.285, df = 128, p = 0.001); represented with a medium effect size (r= 0.28). Table 3: Descriptive statistics of self-esteem (RSES) regarding hearing status M SD min max skewness kurtosis / / D/HH / HA 0.200 -0.192 0.656 -0.408 JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION / 4. , / , 19 (=75,75), / (M= 74.08). - / 16 (t = -3.024, df = 18, p = 0.007) 20 (t = -3.371, df = 20, p = 0.003). 16 r= 0.56, 20 r= 0.58. 4. () / Age in years N / / D/HH M SD N Effect of age on self-esteem The results of comparison between D/HH and H adolescents' self-esteem regarding age are shown in Table 4. On average, the D/HH adolescents had lower self-esteem than HA in all groups of age, except in the group aged 19 (M=75.75), where the mean score of D/HH was higher than in HA youth (M=74.08). The t-test for independent samples indicated statistically significant differences between D/HH and H adolescents in the groups aged 16 (t = -3.024, df = 18, p = 0.007), and 20 (t = 3.371, df = 20, p = 0.003). The effect size in the group at the age of 16 is represented as a large effect of the value r= 0.56 and in the group at the age of 20 with r= 0.58. Table 4: Comparison of the results of selfesteem (RSES) regarding age / HA M SD t-test df p-value -3.024 -0.275 -1.47 0.679 -3.371 / 5. / ( ). - (t = -2.260, df = 70, p = 0.021); (r = 0.27) (t = -2.260, df = 56, p = 0.028); (r= 0.28) . / / ( r=0.03) ( r= 0.28). Effect of gender on self-esteem Compared groups of D/HH and HA youth regarding gender are presented in Table 5. The results showed lower mean scores of D/HH adolescents on self-esteem component compared with HA in general (for female and male). The t-test was significant for male (t = 2.260, df = 70, p = 0.021); represented with a medium effect size (r= 0.27) and female (t = 2.260, df = 56, p = 0.028); represented with a medium effect size (r= 0.28) according to hearing status. The comparison within the group of D/HH female and D/HH male (with no effect size r=0.03) was not significant and the same was for the group of HA female and HA male (where effect size is represented as medium r= 0.28). SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES 5. () / Gender N M Table 5: Comparison of the results of selfesteem (RSES) regarding gender SD t-test df p-value / / Female D/HH / / Male D/HH / Female HA / Male HA / / Female D/HH / Female HA / / Male /HH / Male HA -0.241 -0.460 -2.354 -2.260 / ; / / (, ). (t = -1.023, df = 63, p = 0.310); 6. 6. () / Communication mode at home N M Effect of communication at home on selfesteem The sample of D/HH was divided into two subgroups; a group of D/HH who use SSL as their primary mode of communication and those D/HH who use total communication (speech, SSL or gestures). The t-test for independent samples showed no statistically significant differences (t = -1.023, df = 63, p = 0.310); and the results are presented in Table 6. Table 6: Comparison of the results of selfesteem (RSES) regarding communication mode at home SD min max t-test df p-value / SSL / Speech and S L -1.023 7 8 . / , , (r= 0.18) ( , ). Effect of communication at school on selfesteem Table 7 and Table 8 show the results of the ANOVA, with communication mode at school as independent variable and RSES as dependent variable. When comparing D/HH adolescents group on their level of self-esteem, the group did not significantly differ regarding communication mode at school, although the significance of Welch test was border-line and with a small effect size (r=0.18) (the assumption of equality of variances was not assumed, Welsh statistic was used). JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION 7. () / Communication mode at school Table 7: Comparison of the results of selfesteem (RSES) regarding communication mode at school N M SD min max / SSL / Speech and SSL / Speech 8. () / Communication mode at school Table 8: Comparison of the results of selfesteem (RSES) regarding communication mode at school / Welch test* Statistic (df1, df2) p-value / Homogeneity F df1 df2 p-val e RSES 3.222 (2, 30.87) * / Robust Tests of Equality of Means 9. (t = -1.356, df = 5.383, p = 0.229); (r= 0.32) . 9. () / Educational settings / Special / Mainstream N 59 6 M 72.898 77.333 SD 4.784 7.866 Effect of educational settings on self-esteem The analysis of the levels of self-esteem between the deaf and hard of hearing adolescents in special educational settings and mainstream settings is shown in Table 9. The t-test showed no statistically significant differences (t = -1.356, df = 5.383, p = 0.229); represented with a medium effect size (r= 0.32) in the level of self-esteem regarding educational settings. Table 9:Descriptive statistics for the level of self-esteem (RSES) regarding educational settings min 59 69 max 83 88 t-test -1.356 df 5.383 p-value 0.229 . . , (25). , , Discussion Effect of hearing status on self-esteem Self-esteem is a basic component of mental health. There are differences among children and adolescents in how they view themselves. Some youth are high self-monitors while others are low self-monitors (25). The results SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES . . - (Bat-Chava) (12), 22 . , (26). , . , , . / 16 20 . 17, 18 19 , . . (24), : ; (, ); ; . Block Robins (25) (14 ), showed that, on average, deaf and hard of hearing adolescents had lower self-esteem than hearing adolescents. One explanation could be that deaf and hard of hearing youth grow up in very special life conditions, and they need support from society in many different ways. Our findings were similar to those made by Bat-Chava (12), who reviewed 22 studies which compared the self-esteem of deaf people, and found evidence of lower selfesteem. The same findings of lower selfesteem in deaf youth were presented in Hilburn, Marini and Slate (26) study. It was reported that deaf youth of deaf parents had significantly lower self-esteem than hearing adolescents of hearing parents, but there was no significant difference among deaf adolescents with hearing or deaf parents. Effect of age on self-esteem There are differences in self-esteem between deaf, hard of hearing, and hearing adolescents regarding age as well. Our study showed that the group of D/HH adolescents between the mean ages of 16 and 20 years expressed statistically significant lower self-esteem than the HA group. At the mean ages of 17, 18 and 19 years, no differences between the two groups of adolescents were discovered. These results are in line with some of the assumptions discussed in the theoretical introduction. According to Rosenberg (24), self-esteem in adolescence characteristically varies and is associated with different factors: with an increased concern about the image that others form about the adolescent; with conflicting opinions about the adolescent among different persons and groups (parents, peers, and teachers); with a rapid endeavour to form a selfimage, agreeable to others; and with the conflict between the adolescent's social roles and expectations of others. Block and Robins (25) researched the instability of self-esteem and developmental changes of self-esteem among boys and girls from early adolescence (14 JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION (18 ) (23 ). ­ , 14 23 . , , 16 20 , . 16 20 , . / , . ( ?) , ( ). . . / , / , . (21) Erol Orth (26), () . years), through late adolescence (18 years) to early adulthood (23 years). Using traditional criteria ­ comparing the groups through time, they found small changes in self-esteem at the ages between 14 and 23. Our research showed similar results if we interpret each group of adolescents individually, which means that the level of self-esteem varied among those age groups, especially between the groups of adolescents aged 16 and 20, where the difference was significant. This could be ascribed to the fact that the majority of adolescents at the ages of 16 and 20 years in our sample originnated from deaf families where sign language was the primary mode of communication, which presented more difficulties in communicating with the hearing surroundings. The differences between D/HH and H groups of adolescents were even greater due to communication problems, since deaf adolescents encounter difficulties in coping in the hearing world. Perhaps the explanation also lies in the importance of searching for one's own identity (Who am I and who do I belong to?) or identity crisis, which is particularly distinctive in transition period (at the beginning of adolescence and towards the period of adulthood). Effect of gender on self-esteem The results showed that hearing male adolescents as well as female adolescents had higher self-esteem than deaf and hard of hearing female and male adolescents. The differences in self-esteem between them are statistically significant. The findings have shown that the mean value of male D/HH as well as male H adolescents on the self-esteem scale was higher than the mean value of selfesteem of female D/HH and H female adolescents, which indicates small differences regarding gender that are statistically not significant. The results are in line with the finding of a research on Slovenian secondary school students (21) and with a study presented by Erol and Orth (26), in which a higher level of self-esteem (RSES) was shown among male adolescents than female adolescents. According to different authors SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES (25), ¢ . , ( , , ). (27). , , , . / . / . , / . , ( ) . , , Kossewska (28, 29), / . 46 (25), there are interesting and still incomprehensible differences in self-esteem and its changes regarding gender. The fact is that females perceive and evaluate themselves differently than males, but the reason for that cannot be clearly explained (different upbringing patterns, different possibilities of asserting oneself in social context, different goals and standards). Effect of communication at home on selfesteem and Effect of communication at school on self-esteem The family is one of the important forces in human life and it has become widely accepted that parental participation is critical to the future of a deaf and hard of hearing child (27). How parents educate, guide, see and communicate with their child, will have long-term effect on the development of the child. It is well known that the majority of D/HH adolescents have hearing parents and their primary mode of communication is speech. Not many parents and D/HH adolescents know sign language and just some are fluent in it. This fact can be presented with our results of mean scores values of self-esteem, where deaf and hard of hearing adolescents who used speech or sign language in their communication had higher self-esteem than those d/Deaf that used mostly SSL. These findings could be ascribed to the heterogeneity of our sample regarding hearing loss and mode of communication, which means that in our case deaf adolescents who used more modes of communication (speech and sign language) had higher self-esteem that those deaf adolescents whose mother tongue was sign language. These results are surprising, since significant differences in mode of communication were expected, as is evident also from the studies by Kossewska (28, 29), who reported that families using a common mode of communication were more cohesive and stable, and that in such families D/HH could develop adequate social skills as their hearing pears. Deaf teenagers who reported better communication with their parents had more positive self-esteem and greater academic JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION (30). / . , , . ( ) , . (26), / . Beck (26), , / , / , . , , . , . , . , () ( ), success (30). What kind of communication mode parents and teachers will use with the D/HH child depends on a variety of factors. School and the mode of communication associated with it, or the language in which educational programme is carried out, is certainly one of the significant factors which can influence the individual's self-esteem. Slovenian schools attended by deaf and hard of hearing adolescents (also the majority of special schools for the deaf and the hard of hearing) carry out their programmes in the Slovenian oral language, that is, in speech. Since language plays an important role in the degree of self-esteem (26), our interest focused on the area of communication among Slovenian D/HH adolescents. Our findings were similar to those made in a study by Beck (26), where HA adolescents had highest self-esteem, like the group of D/HH who used speech as their primary mode of communication, followed by the group of D/HH who used speech and sign language, while those deaf adolescents who only used sign language had the lowest self-esteem. These findings are expected, because in the existing hearing world the best way to communicate is verbal speech, while sign language represents the only way to communicate with a small group of Deaf people. Effect of educational settings on self-esteem Since the sample of integrated deaf and hard of hearing adolescents was small, it is not possible to generalize these findings. Nonetheless, it indicates that some deaf adolescents may have higher self-esteem despite communicational difficulties they encounter in the hearing world. The obtained finding on self-esteem was somewhat surprising, as it indicated that deaf and hard of hearing adolescents in mainstream schools (integrated) had higher self-esteem than those included into a segregated form of schooling (or attending special schools for the deaf and hard of hearing), even though the latter were supposed to increase the feelings of worth SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES . , , , , . / , / . , (18) . , . (12) , , . , , , , , . and affiliation in their midst. On the basis of our results, it can be said that the Slovene deaf and hard of hearing adolescents are successfully integrated into mainstream schools, where the feelings of success and acceptance, representing the key element of self-esteem, are important for an adolescent. Since most of the educational programme in schools for D/HH is carried out in Slovenian Sign Language or bilingually, it was to be expected that D/HH adolescents would have higher self-esteem than those included into mainstream schools. This finding about self-esteem is thus somewhat surprising, as a number of authors (18) have determined a higher level of self-esteem among deaf students attending special schools. This could be ascribed to the fact that our sample of deaf adolescents using sign language was too small to confirm our assumptions or expectations, since group identification is a very important factor in forming Deaf identity and also in a higher level of self-esteem. When researchers (12) studied the influence of schooling on selfesteem, they found that the type of school usually does not influence self-esteem directly, but the individual's academic success certainly does. On the other hand, academic success, which can certainly lead to an individual's higher self-esteem, is significantly influenced by language and understanding. On the other hand, academic success, which can certainly lead to an individual's higher self-esteem, is significantly influenced by language and understanding. , , , . 65 4607 ,, " (21). Conclusion The purpose of this study was to explore differences between deaf and hard of hearing, and hearing adolescents regarding the hearing status, communication mode at home and at school, gender, age, and education settings. Equal pairs of 65 deaf and hard of hearing adolescents were chosen from the base of 4607 secondary school students who were involved in the research project entitled "Risk Factors in Slovenian secondary school" (21). JOURNAL OF SPECIAL EDUCATION AND REHABILITATION . , , , . (12,14). , ( , ). , , . , , , , ( ; . 2.000.000 ). , /. . . Our research showed a sufficient impact of hearing status on self-esteem. The comparison of the self-esteem of deaf and hard of hearing adolescents and hearing adolescents regarding the hearing status, age and gender showed that the self-esteem of deaf and hard of hearing adolescents was significantly different to that of hearing adolescents, that is, deaf and hard of hearing adolescents had a lower level of selfesteem than their hearing peers. These findings are the same as the findings of other studies (12,14). Our research also found a higher level of self-esteem among the deaf and hard of hearing adolescents attending mainstream schooling as well as among those using speech and sign language in their everyday communication (family, school). Although the study was undertaken in Slovenia, we consider the results as important for international audience, while this kind of research is the only research in Slovenia, which has been done to explore the component of selfesteem on the population of deaf and hard of hearing, and hearing adolescents and which has been translated into Slovenian Sign Language. This study also has some limitations, since the sample of deaf and hard of hearing was relatively small but still representative (it is important to note that the incidence of deaf and hard of hearing persons is low, and that the Slovenian population is small; approx. 2.000.000 inhabitants). Future studies should focus also on group identification, quality of life and should be conducted with larger and more diverse d/Deaf and hard of hearing populations. Continuing researched is needed to help all deaf people to feel good and enjoy high quality of lives in hearing society. Conflict of interests Author declares no conflict of interests. SPECIAL EDUCATION-PROFESSIONAL AND SCIENTIFIC ISSUES / http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Special Education and Rehabilitation de Gruyter

Self-Esteem of Deaf and Hard of Hearing Compared with Hearing Adolescents in Slovenia – The Context of Social and Communication Factors

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Publisher
Walter de Gruyter
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by the
eISSN
1857-663X
D.O.I.
10.1515/jser-2015-0010
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