Learned helplessness and persistence on verbal and nonverbal tasks for preadolescents who are deaf

Julia Higgins Pezzi, Fordham University


The purpose of the present study was to investigate the relationship of learned helplessness to persistence and future expectancy on verbal and nonverbal tasks with individuals who are deaf compared to hearing children. Thirty deaf and 30 hearing subjects (ages 10, 11, and 12) were compared on the following: (a) persistence on unsolvable nonverbal (mazes) and verbal (anagrams) tasks, (b) expectancy for success on verbal and nonverbal tasks, and (c) differential sensitivity to failure experiences. It was expected that when compared to hearing children, deaf children would demonstrate an attributional mediating pattern which reflected a stable, internal causation. Decreased expectancy and decreased persistence were expected, particularly on verbal tasks. ^ Compared to hearing children, deaf children showed lower expectancy for success and less persistence on verbal tasks. No differences emerged for expectancy for success and persistence between deaf and hearing children on nonverbal tasks. On verbal tasks, deaf children did not demonstrate increased sensitivity to failure. In this study, deaf children attributed failure on verbal tasks to more internal and stable factors than did hearing children. However, for nonverbal tasks, there were no differences in attribution for failure between deaf children and hearing children. ^

Subject Area

Psychology, Social|Education, Educational Psychology|Education, Special

Recommended Citation

Julia Higgins Pezzi, "Learned helplessness and persistence on verbal and nonverbal tasks for preadolescents who are deaf" (January 1, 1999). ETD Collection for Fordham University. Paper AAI9938915.