What Impact, if Any, Does Profound Deafness Have on the Formation of the Attachment Relationship Between the Profoundly Deaf Infant and Hearing Mother?

Hughes, Geraldine Monina
Shinkfield, Carol
Item type
Degree name
Master of Health Science
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Auckland University of Technology

This dissertation addresses the question: what impact, if any, does profound deafness have on the formation of the attachment relationship between a profoundly deaf infant and hearing mother? A modified systematic literature review has been employed as the methodology for this research. Literature was gathered from two main sources. First, the body of knowledge of attachment theory with particular emphasis on the developing attachment relationship between the mother/infant dyad during the first 18 months of the infant’s life. Second, from the body of knowledge pertaining to the development of hearing and infant deafness. In order to address the dissertation question it was necessary to consider risks to the development of the attachment relationship between the hearing mother/deaf infant dyad. The study found that risks might be centred on two specific themes, that of a) communication mismatching, and b) the effects of maternal resolution to the emotional impact of the confirmation of infant deafness. However, insufficient evidence was found to reach firm conclusions about the impacts. It could be expected that the identified risk factors might lead to a higher incidence of insecure attachment. However, this hypothesis was not fully supported by the available literature, which found no significant difference in the distribution of secure and insecure attachment. Reasons for this finding could include adaptation within the mother/infant dyad toward greater use of non-auditory modes of communication.

Deafness , Hearing mother/deaf infant , Attachment , Mother/infant dyad
Publisher's version
Rights statement