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Title: Narratives of hopes, fears and expectations : young people with cochlear implants
Author: Wright, Gillian
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 3990
Awarding Body: University of East London
Current Institution: University of East London
Date of Award: 2015
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Introduction: Research including cochlear implant users is slowly developing since their introduction in the treatment of deafness. Current gaps in research point to the inclusion of young people who have received paediatric cochlear implants. Method: This qualitative study sought to collect the perspectives of young people (aged 16-18) with cochlear implants in relation to their hopes, fears and expectations for the future. The eight participants were of equal gender mix (four females, four males) and were on average 17 years old; they had been using a cochlear implant for an average of 14 years. Data was gathered via one-to-one topic focused interviews with holistic narratives being analysed for content, form, and performative elements. Results: Overall narratives of hopes were thicker than those of fears and especially those of expectations. Narratives of hopes included: achievement through education/career; acceptance of deafness from self and others; a greater desire for fluidity between communication partners and improvements in cochlear implant technology. Interestingly how participants framed fears seemed to vary; yet this pointed to concerns over the visibility of deafness and non-acceptance from others (i.e. friendships and relationships), particularly with hearing people. Expectations, linked with narratives of hopes, however were framed in more vague terms. Conclusion: The study highlighted commonalities and disparities in the participants’ future narratives. To conceptualise the psychological consequences of being a young person with a cochlear implant, models of adjustment and life transition were used. The study calls for a greater awareness of deaf issues within professional settings and the wider society. Through their practice, Clinical Psychologists ought to be deaf aware and take a critical stance towards negative social narratives of competence. Through research, Clinical Psychologists should aim to represent the idiosyncrasies of deaf lives. The study supports a paradigm shift towards a fluid sense of identity in promoting a greater sense of acceptance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (D.Clin.Psy.) Qualification Level: Doctoral