Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Working with Hispanic Women Who Are Deaf: Recommendations from the Literature

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Working with Hispanic Women Who Are Deaf: Recommendations from the Literature

Article excerpt

THE AUTHORS used the hermeneutics approach within social cognitive career theory to explore employment trends and issues over the past 20 years relevant to Hispanic women who are deaf. Barriers to employment were discovered including discrepancies due to gender, race/ethnicity, and severity of hearing loss. Recommendations for policymakers and professionals suggest a need for research that addresses the unique experiences of Hispanic women who are deaf within vocational rehabilitation, the use of social cognitive career theory as it relates to career development and choices, and an increase in education and training to better prepare vocational rehabilitation counselors to work with individuals from multiple minority backgrounds. While information about Hispanic women who are deaf is limited, this review provides a better understanding of Hispanic deaf women and encourages expansion of knowledge in practice and research for professionals working with this unique population.

Keywords: Hispanic women, deafness, social cognitive career theory, employment

Hermeneutic methods can serve as a general approach to surveying important articles, books, and other resources related to a topic of interest or importance. Investigators employing her - meneutic research methods attempt to make sense of existing text or narrative materials in relation to a broader context, thus providing both an initial and an in-depth understanding of a body of work (Babbie, 1998). For example, general examination of minority issues, women's issues, disability issues, and multiple forms of minority group affiliation with relation to employment outcomes can facilitate development of best practices in working with specific populations, including Hispanic women who are deaf. This approach can be used with social cognitive career theory in an attempt to provide a preliminary road map to guide future policy, research, and practice.

Social cognitive career theory is particularly useful in looking at the career development of women, minorities, and people with disabilities (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 2002), and it builds on social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1988; Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) to explain the importance of individual involvement in career development, with an emphasis on self-efficacy, anticipated outcomes, and activities geared toward reaching goals. According to Szymanski, Enright, Hershenson, and Ettinger (2010), social cognitive career theory emphasizes individual choice and self-efficacy in choosing and developing career options, recognizes environmental factors influencing career choice and development, values personal experiences, and includes outcome expectations. Unique characteristics of the individual are examined by means of this theory in a holistic manner to best assist individuals in choosing desired career outcomes.

Various researchers have examined social cognitive career theory as it applies to minority groups, including first-generation college students (Gibbons & Shoffner, 2004), racial and ethnic minorities (Lent & Brown 2002; Lindley, 2006), gender-based groups (Bussey & Bandura, 1999), people with disabilities (Ochs & Roessler, 2004), and minority women with disabilities (Vaughn, 2009).

Social cognitive career theory may be applied, for example, to a specific population within the Hispanic population, Hispanic women who are deaf. As such, themes regarding employment patterns of Hispanic women who are deaf can be examined to determine how these patterns relate to success or failure in the workplace. The purpose of the present article was twofold. First, we conducted an extensive literature review to examine issues surrounding employment of Hispanic women who are deaf. Second, we developed recommendations from the literature for rehabilitation professionals working with this population. As Hispanics continue to constitute the fastest-growing minority population in the United States (Hunes, Jones, & Ramirez, 2011), with one of the highest rates of unemployment (U. …

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