Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work

First Advisor

Dr. Edward Skarnulis, Ph. D.

Second Advisor

Dr. Maria Dinis, Ph. D.

Third Advisor

Marina Hausladen, M.S., L.S.W.


This study explores the process of self-esteem enhancement in 23 women, nine Deaf and fourteen hearing, for purposes of both individual and group comparison. The qualitative design examines material from in-depth interviews to generate themes relating to the ways in which these women have described the concept of, and enhanced, their self-esteem.

It was found that, while both Deaf and hearing women described self-esteem in conceptually-equivalent terms, a distinction was noted in specific words used by each of the two groups. A contrast was also found between the number of Deaf women who reported education as a factor in self-esteem enhancement and the number of hearing women reporting on that phenomenon, as well as the the number of Deaf women who cited language and communication as a critical component for self-esteem enhancement. Implications for social work with culturally deaf women, self-esteem work with women, and future research are discussed.


SC 11.MSW.1998.Holte.MC

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