Review Article

Identity construction among deaf adolescents and young adults: A literature review

Lieketseng V. Sekoto, Vera-Genevey Hlayisi
African Journal of Disability | Vol 12 | a1168 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ajod.v12i0.1168 | © 2023 Lieketseng V. Sekoto, Vera-Genevey Hlayisi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 October 2022 | Published: 02 May 2023

About the author(s)

Lieketseng V. Sekoto, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
Vera-Genevey Hlayisi, Division of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa

Abstract

Background: Identity construction is an integral developmental task for adolescents and young adults (AYA). The intersection of deaf identity and disabling hearing loss (DHL) adds a layer to the complex process of identity construction.

Aim: This literature review highlights the self-ascribed deaf identities of AYA and seeks to understand how AYA with DHL forge these identities. Knowledge areas for prospective research and practice are uncovered.

Method: A traditional literature review of qualitative empirical evidence on AYA’s accounts of their deaf identity construction was conducted on seminal literature and peer-reviewed journals in psychology, disability studies and deaf studies.

Results: The emerging self-ascribed deaf identities of AYA are diverse. The identities include Deaf, hearing, hard-of-hearing (HOH), bicultural HOH, identities that detach from disability, bicultural DeaF, unresolved and fluid identities. Complex trade-offs exist where the construction of certain identities forgoes certain reasonable accommodations, interventions or relations that are critical for personal development and wellbeing.

Conclusion: Current literature orients deaf identity formation around hearing status and Deaf-hearing communal dynamics. In-depth research comprising facets of AYA’s personal, enacted and relational identities is required to conscientise rehabilitation professionals about the nuances of deaf identity issues and how to develop interventions that are supportive and responsive to the clinical and psychosocial challenges of AYA with DHL.

Contribution: This paper deviates from the d/Deaf identity dichotomy, revealing a spectrum of deaf identities that AYA forge. The rationales of AYA’s deaf identities, underlying processes and possible vulnerable identities are unpacked. Recommendations for prospective research pertaining to identity construction among deaf AYA are made.


Keywords

adolescents; deaf identity; identity construction; young adults; hearing loss; disability; self-ascribed deaf disability.

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

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Total article views: 1830

 

Crossref Citations

1. Understanding identity construction among deaf adolescents and young adults: implications for the delivery of person and family-centered care in audiological rehabilitation
Vera-Genevey Hlayisi, Lieketseng Victoria Sekoto
Frontiers in Rehabilitation Sciences  vol: 4  year: 2023  
doi: 10.3389/fresc.2023.1228116