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Research into psychological instruments for deaf children and adolescents

A pilot study


12 / 1994

As a result of the lack of psychological tests for deaf children, "Curium", the Dutch Academic Centre for Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, started in 1992 a project to develop and evaluate methods for diagnosing the personality of deaf children. Three tests were chosen:

- the Children’s Versions A and B of the Family Relation Test (Bene and Anthony, 1978)

- the sentence Completion Test (Loevinger, 1970, 1976; Westenberg, 1994)

- the Dutch Personality Questionnaire Junior (Luteijn, van Dijk, van der Ploeg, 1989).

The tests were presented to experts on deafness: psychologists, psycholinguists and deaf adults. Remarks and suggestions led to experimental versions of the tests and administered to two groups of deaf children.

All children were prelingual deaf, with a mean level of intelligence, a hearing loss above 90 dB and no other handicaps. Sessions were registered on videotape. Criteria for assessing the suitability of the items were: if 66% of the children comprehended an item immediately, it was maintained. An item was eliminated if 66% of the children, even after explanation didn’t understand the meaning. Adjustments were made if less than 66% didn’t understand the item immediately and also less than 66% didn’t understand after explanation. Adjustments were carried out on the base of the evidently successful additional explanation.

Results: Deaf children needed nearly twice as much time to complete the tests compared to hearing children. Results of the experimental F.R.T.-A: twenty-five of 45 items were comprehended without and 20 with explanation by all children. Twenty items required ajustments. No items needed to be eliminated. In group B no difficulties occured in the comprehension of the items of the experimental F.R.T.-B. Results of the S.C.T.: nine of the younger children got stuck halfway before finishing the test. Of the 42 items, 27 could be maintained without adjustements. Nine items required adjustment and 6 items were removed. Results of the S.C.T. in group B: one child didn’t want to make the test. Twenty-seven items of 42 could be maintained entirely. Six items were adjusted. No items needed to be eliminated. Results of the D.P.Q.-J: half and more of the items in every category required adjustments.In the category "Stubborness" most of the items were not comprehended by 66% of the children, even after explanation and therefore eliminated. In the category "Social Inadequacy" only one item was not comprehended with explanation and eliminated.

The pilot-study resulted in three revised questionnaires: the Family Relation Test for Deaf Children (12/13 years)and Deaf-Junior (9/10 years); the Sentence Completion Test for Deaf Children (12/13 years)and in Sign Language (9/10 years); the Personality Questionnaire for Deaf Children (12/13 years).

Palabras claves

investigación aplicada, necesidades básicas, comunicación, método de diagnóstico, niño, salud mental, metodología, psicología, construcción del conocimiento

, Europa, Países Bajos, Oegstgeest


So far, the results point out that the adjusted versions of the tests led to a better understanding by deaf children. Further research is necessary to investigate whether the original and the renewed editions still measure the same personality traits. Standardization for a larger group of deaf children will be carried out in order to develop more permanent tests.


GESTES Groupe d’Etude Spécialisé "Thérapies et Surdités"has organised the ESMHD European Society for Mental Health and Deafnessthird international congress, in Paris, on december 1994. The publication of the proceedings will occur later on.

Written from the speech of Catharina SPRONK VAN HAL, Psychotherapist, Curium, Endegeesterstraatweg 36, 2342 AK, Oegstgeest, the NEDERLANDS, Tel: 71.154.595.


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GESTES (Groupe d’Etudes Spécialisé Thérapies et Surdité) - 8 rue Michel Peter, 75013 Paris, FRANCE. Tel/Fax 00(331)43 31 25 00 - Francia - gestes (@)

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