Alt Title

Hearing-impaired children's social emotional understanding skills

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Lovejoy, M. Christine

Degree Name

Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Hearing impaired children--Illinois; Emotional maturity--Illinois; Emotions in children


This study compared the cognitive and social skills of two groups with differing language experiences: hearing-impaired (HI) children (n = 29) and younger hearing children (n = 45). The younger hearing children (5 to 8 years old) were expected to be similar to the HI children (8 to 11 years old) in their development of language and cognitive abilities. Parents and teachers rated children's social competence with the Social Skills Rating Scale. Children's skills were assessed with primarily nonverbal measurements of concept formation, emotional understanding (DANVA—recognition of facial expression, and CAM—recognition of emotional contexts), and cognitive perspective-taking (“hidden view” and “changed location” false-belief tasks). Teachers rated the HI children's expressive language skills with the Language Proficiency Profile. All of the data was utilized for within-group correlations; however, 29 hearing children were selected with a group-matching method (gender, race, and school) for between-group analyses. In comparison to the younger hearing children, the HI children performed similarly on emotional understanding tasks and more poorly on cognitive perspective-taking tasks. No clinically significant differences were found in ratings of social competence. All within-group correlations controlled for age effects. Exposure to signing programs and mothers' signing skills were positively correlated with the HI children's expressive language and concept formation abilities. The HI children's expressive language skills were positively associated with emotional understanding skills and ratings of social competence. For both groups, emotional understanding and cognitive perspective-taking were correlated, while concept formation was not correlated with any cognitive or social variables. Emotional understanding correlated with only the HI children's ratings of social competence. The HI children appeared to have qualitatively different development of cognitive and social skills as evidenced by (a) their uneven pattern of cognitive and social development in comparison to hearing children and (b) the different role that emotional understanding skills played in hearing and HI children's social competence. This study provides support for both Vygotsky's and Denham's theoretical arguments and insight regarding the directions of future research.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [119]-137).


xi, 224 pages




Northern Illinois University

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