Attachment and individuation of deaf/hard-of-hearing and hearing young adults

Amatzia Weisel*, Ahiya Kamara

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study examined differences between deaf/hard-of-hearing (D/HH) and hearing persons with regard to two interrelated and continuous developmental processes: attachment (Bowlby, 1969) and individuation (Mahler, 1963). The study also examined intergroup differences in two personal variables assumed to be influenced by these processes: self-esteem and well-being. Participants comprised 38 D/HH and 42 hearing persons aged 18 to 35 years from middle and upper-middle socioeconomic classes. All the D/HH participants had graduated from mainstreamed educational programs. Findings showed that D/HH participants expressed more fear of attachment and more fear of individuation than did hearing participants. D/HH participants also revealed a lower self-esteem and lower level of well-being compared to hearing participants. Higher fear of attachment correlated with lower levels of self-esteem and well-being. Results supported the theorized relationships between attachment and individuation processes and between these two processes and personality characteristics such as self-esteem and well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-62
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2005


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