Adolescents with Hearing Impairment: Coping with Environmental Stressors

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Miri Cohen


hearing impairment, coping strategies, environmental stressors


Aims - To assess the effect of two different environmental stressors, impending tests and the threat of terror bombing attacks, on adolescents with and without hearing impairment and to compare coping strategies and psychological reactions to the stressors between the two groups.   Method  - Eleven adolescents with hearing impairment and 65 hearing adolescents, aged 13-15, learning at an inclusive school completed the demographic Coping Across Situation Questionnaire, the Test Anxiety Inventory, and a terror-bombing-related stress symptoms questionnaire.

Results - Higher levels of test stress and terror-related stress symptoms were found in the adolescents with hearing impairment. They used more avoidant coping and less active coping than the hearing adolescents.  Higher use of avoidant coping was related to higher levels of test and terror-related symptoms, internal coping was related to higher test stress only, and active coping was related to lower terror-related symptoms.

Conclusions - Identifying and targeting the factors related to developing avoidant coping styles by adolescents with hearing impairment could help them to adopt more efficient coping strategies.  Programs should be initiated to teach the adolescents coping strategies, such as problem solving and sharing concerns with significant others, as well as stress management skills.

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