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Deaf adolescents in a hearing world: a review of factors affecting psychosocial adaptation

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      Abstract

      Adolescence has long been viewed as a time of rapid change in many domains including physical, cognitive, and social. Adolescents must adapt based on developing skills and needs and acclimate to growing environmental pressures. Deaf adolescents are often faced with the additional challenge of managing these adaptations in a hearing world, where communication and access to information, especially about their social world, are incomplete at best and nonexistent at worst. This article discusses the research on several factors that influence a deaf adolescent’s adaptation, including quality of life, self-concept, and identity development. Gaps in our knowledge are pointed out with suggestions for future research programs that can facilitate optimal development in adolescents who are deaf.

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      Most cited references 81

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        Understanding adolescence as a period of social-affective engagement and goal flexibility.

        Research has demonstrated that extensive structural and functional brain development continues throughout adolescence. A popular notion emerging from this work states that a relative immaturity in frontal cortical neural systems could explain adolescents' high rates of risk-taking, substance use and other dangerous behaviours. However, developmental neuroimaging studies do not support a simple model of frontal cortical immaturity. Rather, growing evidence points to the importance of changes in social and affective processing, which begin around the onset of puberty, as crucial to understanding these adolescent vulnerabilities. These changes in social-affective processing also may confer some adaptive advantages, such as greater flexibility in adjusting one's intrinsic motivations and goal priorities amidst changing social contexts in adolescence.
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          Is adolescence a sensitive period for sociocultural processing?

          Adolescence is a period of formative biological and social transition. Social cognitive processes involved in navigating increasingly complex and intimate relationships continue to develop throughout adolescence. Here, we describe the functional and structural changes occurring in the brain during this period of life and how they relate to navigating the social environment. Areas of the social brain undergo both structural changes and functional reorganization during the second decade of life, possibly reflecting a sensitive period for adapting to one's social environment. The changes in social environment that occur during adolescence might interact with increasing executive functions and heightened social sensitivity to influence a number of adolescent behaviors. We discuss the importance of considering the social environment and social rewards in research on adolescent cognition and behavior. Finally, we speculate about the potential implications of this research for society.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Department of Psychology, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC, USA
            Author notes
            Correspondence: Patrick J Brice, Department of Psychology, Gallaudet University, 800 Florida Ave NE, Kendall Green, Washington, DC 20002, USA, Tel/fax +1 30 1221 8199, Email Patrick.brice@ 123456gallaudet.edu
            Journal
            Adolesc Health Med Ther
            Adolesc Health Med Ther
            Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics
            Adolescent Health, Medicine and Therapeutics
            Dove Medical Press
            1179-318X
            2016
            21 April 2016
            : 7
            : 67-76
            27186150
            4847601
            10.2147/AHMT.S60261
            ahmt-7-067
            © 2016 Brice and Strauss. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

            The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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