Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Major

Counselor Education

Date of Defense

4-26-2011

Graduate Advisor

Susan Kashubeck-West, Ph.D.

Committee

Pope, Mark

Cottone, Rocco

Zand, Debra

Abstract

Abstract Recent research supports the application of the theory of adaptation to various groups of individuals with disabilities. The premise of the theory is that individuals with certain disabilities may have greater difficulty adapting to their newly acquired level of functioning (Diener, Lucas, & Scollon, 2006). The purpose of this study was to examine the relationships between disability factors and psychosocial outcomes, specifically psychological well-being, in a sample of individuals who lost their hearing after age 12. Coping was examined to determine if it was a mediator of the relationships between the disability factors (age of onset, severity of disability, and adaptation) and the psychological well-being of individuals who are late-deafened. Participants (N = 202) completed a survey, including a demographic questionnaire, the Hearing Handicap Inventory for Adults, the Reaction to Impairment and Disability Inventory, the Ways of Coping Questionnaire, and the Psychological Well-Being scale. SPSS and LISREL were used to test the four main hypotheses. Final analyses showed that emotion focused coping did not mediate the relationship between age of onset of hearing loss or adaptation and psychological well-being. However, the structural equation model showed that emotion focused coping mediated the relationships between perceived severity of hearing loss and psychological well-being, and problem focused coping mediated the relationship between adaptation to disability and psychological well-being. In addition, the fully mediated model proved to be a more parsimonious fit than the model that included direct relationships. Finally, comparison of this sample to other research samples revealed significantly lower levels of psychological well-being and adaptation to disability. Limitations and directions for future research are discussed.

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