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Identity Development

  • By: Anita Small, Joanne Cripps & James Côté
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Identity development entails a broadening of awareness of oneself in relation to the world. Research on identity development demonstrates that those who are proactive in their identity development by exercising personal agency tend to have more optimal outcomes in adulthood. Personal agency is the capacity for intentional, self-directed behavior, especially in the face of obstacles such as lack of opportunity or discrimination. Identity-based agency includes proactively reflecting upon, and regulating, one’s behavior in order to achieve goals and fulfill commitments and responsibilities. The nurturing of identity-based agency is especially relevant to Deaf identity formation.

While there is significant research on identity development and much written theoretically on Deaf identity development, there is a dearth of empirical data relating theoretical frameworks for researching evidence on Deaf identity ...

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