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The social reference group as a correlate to selected dimensions of self-perception in a sample of deaf adolescents

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posted on 2023-08-04, 15:10 authored by Vicki Lynn Kessler Poole

The study examined the relationship of a deaf versus hearing social reference group to six dimensions of self-perception in profoundly deaf adolescents. The dimensions, as assessed by Harter's (1988) Self-Perception Profile for Adolescents (SPPA), are scholastic competence, social acceptance, physical appearance, behavioral conduct, close friendship, and global self-worth. The subjects were 40 middle-school students (mean age of 13.1) at a state residential school for the deaf. The Friendship Rating Scale (FRS) was used to identify participants' sociometric status (popularity). Subjects were matched and randomly assigned to two study groups of 20 students each. Each study group completed the SPPA. One group used deaf peers and the other used hearing peers as their social references for self-comparison. No difference between the mean SPPA scores for the study samples using a deaf and hearing social reference group was hypothesized for the dimensions of physical appearance and behavioral conduct; these hypotheses were confirmed. It was also hypothesized that the mean SPPA score for the study sample using a deaf social reference group would be significantly higher than the mean score for the sample using a hearing social reference group for the dimensions of scholastic competence, social acceptance, close friendship, and global self-worth. These hypotheses were not confirmed. The only difference found between the social reference groups existed in the dimension of social acceptance, which occurred in reverse of the hypothesis. The study group using a hearing social reference group scored significantly higher $(p<.05)$ than the group using a deaf social reference group. This finding suggests that the deaf students perceive themselves as more socially acceptable to hearing peers than to deaf peers. This finding is contrary to Foster's (1987), Foster and Brown's (1988), and Becker's (1987) previous research in deafness. Another possibility suggested by this finding is that these students interpreted the instrument differently than intended, which would, then, suggest that they perceive themselves to be as socially accepted among their peers as hearing students are among hearing peers. In general, it is concluded that, in this sample of deaf adolescents, social reference groups are not an important factor in their self-evaluations of competency.



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Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 53-11, Section: A, page: 3868.; Ph.D. American University 1992.; English


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