We studied identity development during 5 years in 11 deaf adolescents who attend a school for deaf children in the highest level of regular secondary education (age between 14 and 19 years). Identity development is conceptualized by the processes of exploration and commitment formation, as formulated by Marcia (1966). We administered an identity interview every year. We started from the assumption that because deaf adolescents meet more challenges and also – in our sample – are stimulated in their identity development by school programs, they meet identity conflicts at a relatively early age. Our hypothesis that compared to a general sample the exploration process starts at a younger age and results in achieved commitment formation earlier was confirmed. Also our hypothesis that commitment formation in the domain “being deaf” will starts earlier than in other domains was confirmed. We did not find evidence for the hypothesis that commitment formation in the last year was more mature than in other domains, due to a ceiling effect.
- identity development
- deaf adolescents