The present study is a retrospective exploration of the process of self-esteem enhancement in 23 women, 9 culturally Deaf and 14 hearing, for purposes of both individual and group comparisons. A qualitative design was used to examine material from in-depth interviews to generate themes relating to the ways these women describe the concept of their self-esteem and how they have enhanced their own self-esteem. Both groups of women described self-esteem in conceptually equivalent terms, with most in each group identifying themselves as "capable." A distinction was found in the specific words used by each of the two groups. Of the top eight rank-ordered themes, five were similar in importance for both groups. Deaf women were more likely to report education as a factor in self-esteem enhancement, and to cite language and communication as a critical component in self-esteem enhancement. No hearing women reported on those factors. Implications for social work with culturally Deaf women, self-esteem work with women, and future research are discussed.


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pp. 348-354
Launched on MUSE
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