Relationship between Mother’s Attitudes, Maternal Treatment Styles and Communication Competence with Deaf Children’s Self-Esteem in Iran High Schools for the Deaf

  •  Effat Hamed Sardar    
  •  Rusnani Abdul Kadir    
  •  Rohani Bt Ahmad Tarmiz    
  •  Maria Chong Bt Abdullah    


This study examines the relationship between mothers’ attitude, communication competence, maternal treatment styles and self-esteem among deaf children who are currently enrolled in deaf high schools in Iran. Previous studies among deaf children have explored into factors such as types of education, parents’ role, deaf parents’ impact, the severity of deafness, age of onset, deaf child’s communication at home and kinds of hearing aid used (Crocker, 2008). Other variables such as family’s attitude, communication competence, and parental treatment styles have not been systematically explored. It is also not clear which factor affect deaf children’s self-esteem. This survey was conducted at four deaf high schools in Mashhad, Iran. The sample consisted of 200 deaf children (100 boys and 100 girls) and 200 hearing mothers. Four inventories were used in the study: (1) Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale (to measure children’s self-esteem), (2) Parental Attitudes towards Deafness Scale (to measure mother’s attitude), (3) Parental Acceptance, Neglect and Rejection Questionnaire (to measure maternal treatment styles), and (4) Communication Competence Scale (to measure communication competence). The children answered three questionnaires: Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale, Parental Acceptance, Neglect and Rejection Questionnaire and Communication Competence Scale; while the mothers responded to Parental Attitudes towards Deafness Scale and Communication Competence Scale. In addition, the researcher conducted in-depth interviews with four deaf children and their mothers.
The results showed relationships between the mothers’ attitude and deaf children self-esteem, communication competence and self-esteem in deaf children, and mothers’ treatment styles and deaf children’s self-esteem. It was found that in both groups (boys and girls), level of self-esteem was higher for deaf children who were from high income family, whose father and mother had higher education. No significant difference was found between genders in deaf children self-esteem. Finally mothers’ attitude, communication competence, and their treatment styles were found to be predictive of self-esteem among deaf children.
Understanding the source of deaf children’s self-esteem is important for it is the first step in developing self-esteem in deaf children. Helping professionals such as counselors and teachers should involve family members through counseling and coaching on how to manage their deaf children. The counselors can help hearing parents navigate through their feelings and reactions by acknowledging their feelings of disbelief, grief, guilt, and anger when there is a deaf child in the family.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.