Date of Award

Spring 2008

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Master of Arts

First Advisor

David J Hebert


The primary goal of this study was to determine the potential factors that influence the process of cultural identity development for deaf people in a predominantly hearing world. This qualitative study utilized a phenomenological research design in an effort to capture the essence of the experience of growing up deaf and the meaning each participant made of his experiences as they related to his life. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five male participants ranging in age from mid-20s to mid-30s. The interviews were transcribed and thoroughly analyzed to pull out common themes and ideas, leading to the conclusion that the main factors that affect cultural identity in deaf individuals are: family (with a heavy emphasis on the parents), deaf peers, educational settings from childhood through college, and perceived societal feedback.