Academic journal article The Volta Review

Psychosocial Potential Maximization: A Framework of Proactive Psychosocial Attributes and Tactics Used by Individuals Who Are Deaf

Academic journal article The Volta Review

Psychosocial Potential Maximization: A Framework of Proactive Psychosocial Attributes and Tactics Used by Individuals Who Are Deaf

Article excerpt

This article presents a systematic and comprehensive framework of proactive psychosocial attributes and tactics that individuals who are deaf use to maximize their professional and social potential. Empirical studies regarding deafness appear to lack such a framework which may be due to how the research is conducted. A framework of proactive psychosocial attributes and tactics was found in Reiff, Ginsberg, and Gerber's (1995) study of learning disabilities. Reiff et al.'s framework was thereafter used to frame a review of empirical studies related to deafness. It was found that individuals who are deaf likely maximize their potential using 2 sets of proactive psychosocial attributes and tactics: (1) skills that individuals with typical hearing use and (2) specialized skills for circumventing deafness-related difficulties. It is further argued that adult participants who are deaf will provide greater insight into how psychosocial potential is maximized. This literature review will be complemented by empirical findings in a later article.

Introduction

Research related to deafness appears to lack a systematic and comprehensive framework of proactive psychosocial attributes and tactics that adults who are deaf use to maximize their professional and social potential. Authors have argued that while much instructional classroom time with students who are deaf has been focused on academic subjects and the improvement of language and speech skills, the curriculum generally does not cover the development of proactive psychosocial skills (Bowe, 2003; Calderon & Greenberg, 2000). Mental health professionals have further anecdotally observed low levels of psychosocial competence in adults who are deaf (Bowe, 2003; Harvey, 1998). Many educators of the deaf and other deafness-related professionals may also be graduating from training programs unable to foster their students' or clients' psychosocial potential (Bowe, 2003; Calderón & Greenberg, 2003). These serious issues have occurred despite numerous autobiographical accounts attesting to the professional and social integration of individuals who are deaf (e.g., Jacobs, 2007; Reisler, 2002).

The aim of this article is to define a systematic and comprehensive framework of proactive psychosocial attributes and tactics that adults who are deaf use to maximize their professional and social potential. This specified area of academic inquiry involved four separate surveys of the literature that are outlined in this article. These investigations involved the analysis and synthesis of literature in multiple academic domains including epistemology, social psychology, humanistic psychology, emotional intelligence, learning disabilities, deafness, and education. This literature review formed the basis of a doctorate dissertation completed at the University of Melbourne, Australia, in May 2009.

At the outset, it is important to define psychosocial attributes and tactics. Maslow (1970) defined psychosocial attributes as an individual's cognitive traits and thought processes. Sternberg (1985, 1988) further theorized that psychosocial tactics are behavioral outcomes caused by the individual's cognitive attributes. Psychosocial attributes and tactics are largely distinct from IQ (or academic intelligence) and linguistic competence (Maslow, 1970; Sternberg, 1985). The individual's abüity to execute a range of proactive psychosocial attributes and tactics is closely linked with Sternberg's (1985, 1988) concept of "tactic knowledge." Tactic knowledge, or knowledge of psychosocial tactics, connotes the individual's understanding of and executing appropriate or productive responses to social, practical, or emotional problems (Sternberg, 1985). Tactic knowledge is, it will be argued, an important component of Psychosocial Potential Maximization.

The phrase Psychosocial Potential Maximization defines a collective noun, or more specifically a comprehensive and systematic framework of proactive psychosocial attributes and tactics that individuals who are deaf can use to maximize their professional and social potential. …

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