The Antecedents and Outcomes of Autonomous Behaviors: Modeling the Role of Autonomy in Achieving Sustainable Employment for Deaf Young Adults


Obtaining employment is a pivotal developmental milestone for many young adults, yet for some, it is beyond reach. Despite advances in accessibility legislation and academic attainment, deaf young adults in the United States continue to face underemployment and underpayment. The purpose of this study is to investigate the role of autonomy in the developmental process for deaf adolescents as they navigate the transition from adolescence to early adulthood and enter the workforce. A secondary analysis of a large-scale dataset, the second National Longitudinal Transition Study (NLTS2), was conducted to test a longitudinal model of how parental beliefs and attitudes contribute to autonomy development, and in turn, how autonomous orientations and actions exhibited by deaf youths contribute to employment outcomes. The findings indicate that autonomy plays a significant role in the transition toward sustainable employment for deaf young adults. Parental expectations emerged as important antecedents of autonomy development for deaf adolescents, contributing both to autonomous motivations and independent functioning. Deaf adolescents’ autonomy is linked to employment opportunities with greater opportunities for advancement and higher income, and thus offers the field a potential avenue for strengthening pathways towards sustainable employment for deaf individuals.


Garberoglio, C. L., Schoffstall, S., Cawthon, S., Bond, M., & Caemmerer, J. M. (2016). The antecedents and outcomes of autonomous behaviors: Modeling the role of autonomy in achieving sustainable employment for deaf young adults. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities. Advance online publication. doi:10.1007/s10882-016-9492-2