Social Needs Of Adolescents With Developmental Disabilities


Growing up of a teenager in modern conditions of informatization of society and socio-economic instability is a very complex multi-factorial process that introduces specifics in emotional, motivational, need-based and other areas of personal development. The deficit or distortion of these developmental conditions blocks the satisfaction of the needs of the adolescent's personality, which are the source of sociogenesis. The most vulnerable in the development process are adolescents with developmental disabilities, which is associated with the specifics of the socio-biological conditions in which they grow up. Disorders sensory (visual or hearing), motor or mental spheres in adolescents with disabilities, as well as the specifics of the social situation of their development lead to difficulties in communication, expression of emotions, lower levels of self-control, possession of verbal and nonverbal communication in adolescents of this group. Deprivation or delay in the development of social needs in adolescence can lead to frustration, impoverish the conditions for the development of the individual as a whole. Solving the experimental task of identifying the main social needs of adolescents with developmental disabilities in three different groups (mentally retarded, visually impaired, and hard of hearing) in comparison with normatively developing adolescents, we assume that they will differ in their specificity and severity.

Keywords: Adolescents with developmental disorders, dysontogenesis, frustration of needs, social needs


Adolescence is characterized by a significant change in various spheres of personality, including motivational and need-based (Dolgin, 2018; Feldstein, 2005), when priorities change significantly, the space for meeting various kinds of needs and, above all, social ones is transformed. Feldstein (2005), analyzing the conditions in which a person grows up, notes a high probability of distortion of needs and even the emergence of "quasi-needs", and the existing violation in the development of a teenager makes a significant specificity in the process of growing up, burdening the development of personality.

Problem Statement

The dominant needs of this stage individuals way of life needs are: communication, respect, recognition and peer acceptance (Bozhovich, 2009; Emelyanova, 2016); in affirmation, self-realization and development of own "I" (Remschmidt, 1994); to be considered adults (Kazanskaya, 2008); to understand themselves and to be own to his requirements; in the attention, support and affection (Emelyanova, 2016; Remschmidt, 1994); in clear rules and boundaries; to develop and learn through their own life practice (experience); interesting life experiences; ability to confidently defend their opinions; in setting goals in life (Kazanskaya, 2008); in security, the need for dependence and emancipation from the family, in success and testing their capabilities (Remschmidt, 1994).

At this age stage, "such social needs as the need for interpersonal communication, peer acceptance, belonging, recognition and respect, the need for self-realization, social success and autonomy are actualized" (Koroleva, 2016, p. 27).

Rudensky (2020), highlighting the sociogenic needs of the individual (the need for recognition, control and acceptance), notes that they determine the social status and socio-role repertoire of the individual. Sociogenic needs include several aspirations: for example, the need for recognition is associated with the desire of a teenager to be noticed by others, significant and valuable to them and is manifested in the desire to belong to a group, have a reference group, and arouse interest in others. The need for control manifests itself in the behavior associated with establishing and maintaining relationships, in the desire to control and be controlled (Rudensky, 2020). "At the level of self-perception, the need for control is perceived as the need to feel competent, knowledgeable, able to make decisions..." (Rudensky, 2020, p. 55.) The need for acceptance is associated with the affiliation aspirations of the individual in sympathy, friendship, love, mainly in dyadic relationships.

Psychological and socio-cultural analysis of modern childhood shows that in modern conditions of development of society, social needs change in content and orientation (Danilova, 2019; Soldatova & Teslavskaya, 2018). Danilova (2019) found that modern children are characterized by personal motivation associated with obtaining material benefits and self-development, desires for other people are addressed primarily to close relatives, while their Soviet peers had priority socially directed motivation, orientation to the values of the school class collective.

The satisfaction of social needs creates the necessary conditions for the harmonious development of a teenager, being a colossal resource, and their deprivation or delay in development can impoverish the conditions of personal development, lead to a "disorder of plans" and to minor temporary inconsistencies in development.

The most problematic in terms of actualization/satisfaction social needs in adolescence are adolescents with developmental disabilities, which is due to the factor of delay in the actualization of the needs themselves and the factor of specificity of socio-biological conditions in which the personality of a teenager with developmental disabilities grows up (Edgar, 2020; Kislyakov et al., 2018; Kostin, 2019).

Let us consider the specifics of the basic social needs of adolescents with various developmental disabilities (cerebral palsy, hearing/vision disorders, mental retardation) in comparison with the normatively developing adolescents.

Violation of the motor sphere, and the reaction to this condition on the part of the individual and parents raising a child with cerebral palsy, significantly change the social position of a teenager, distorting the needs for communication. Limited living space reduces communication capabilities (Aslanova, 2016). The fear of being rejected by others leads to uncertainty, secrecy, inner tension, etc. (Elkina & Giro, 2019).

Adolescents with motor disorders often experience a lack of communication, "they are aware of the lack of communication, they perceive themselves as unsuitable even in elementary situations of life, they are embarrassed to let others know that they need help (especially in the case of speech disorders, the fear of being misunderstood only increases)" (Pavlova, 2016, p. 62).

It is known that adolescents with hearing impairment are focused on communication in a group of adolescents with similar disabilities, which exacerbates the difficulties in establishing contacts with normally developing peers. A similar situation occurs in adolescents with visual impairments, which forms a kind of "isolationist attitudes, separatism of the psyche" (Litvak, 2006).

In adolescents with visual impairments, due to the lack of visual perception, there are some changes in the dynamics of needs. The limited field of perception and reduced throughput of analyzer systems in the blind and visually impaired leads to a reduction in the impact of "new" stimuli that are necessary for satisfaction of perceptual needs, development of cognitive interest, formation of activity in the subject of cognition (Volkova & Koroleva, 2005).

The specifics of the development of communication needs in adolescents with mental retardation show a distinct dynamics: if younger students often do not feel the need for speech communication with others (Mallaev et al., 2009), they rarely initiate a dialogue, then in high school age such a need is already detected. Mastering to some extent the skills of dialogic speech, adolescents with mental retardation still experience difficulties in conducting a dialogue, one of the reasons for which is the state of the motivational sphere. Degree of weakening of the need for communication It is caused by the fact of underdevelopment of their speech, and a narrow range of interests and motives, and difficulties in understanding the speech of others.

Research Questions

The main research question was the question of identifying the social needs of modern adolescents with developmental disabilities and with normative development.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study: to determine the specifics in the actualization of the basic social needs of adolescents with developmental disabilities (in comparison with normatively developing adolescents).

Research Methods

The experimental study was conducted with 4 groups of adolescents (13-15 years old): EG 1-adolescents with mild mental retardation (n=84), EG 2-adolescents with visual impairment (visually impaired) (n=70), EG 3– adolescents with hearing impairment (hearing impaired) (n=60), KG – adolescents with conditionally normative development (n=80). The results for 3 groups are partially presented in other works of the author (Koroleva, 2016).

It is known that the selection of diagnostic tools for the study of the mental characteristics of adolescents with various developmental disorders is particularly difficult (Koroleva, 2018). To study the features of the motivational-need sphere, we used the well-known method "Three Desires", an experiment with which to identify the nature of needs and aspirations was conducted by Yakobson and Prokina (1967) under the guidance of Bozhovich (2009). For statistical analysis of the obtained results, the method of frequency analysis (Fisher's angular transformation) was used.


As a result of the study, several groups of desires were identified (socially-oriented, entertainment-situational, material, professional-educational). We will focus on describing only the results for the group of socially-oriented desires, the frequency of representation of which in different groups is from 13.3 to 29.5% (table 1).

Table 1 - Socially-oriented desires of adolescents in the experimental and control groups
See Full Size >

As the table shows, the significance of the group of socially-oriented desires is significantly higher in persons with normative development compared to mentally retarded (p≤ 0.05) and with adolescents with hearing impairment (p≤ 0.01). Desires of a broad altruistic plan were found only in the group of subjects with visual impairments (9.2%) ("world peace", so that everyone is happy) and adolescents with normative development (5%) ("so that the world is calm", "so that all diseases end", "so that there is never a war", etc.).

The greatest differences in the results in the groups are observed in the desires associated with the close environment (for the benefit of loved ones) of adolescents. Adolescents of CG significantly more often express wishes that can be attributed to this group (11.5%) ("health to parents", "well-being to relatives", "happiness to relatives", "long life to parents", etc.). Such desires, although present in the responses of adolescents with mental retardation ("help Dad", "so that the wishes of others come true", "so that parents are alive and well", "health and happiness to the family", "so that parents live long"), are not characteristic of them (the reliability of differences with KG p≤0.01; with EG 2 p≤0.05 and EG 3 p≤0.05).

An interesting fact is that adolescents with normative development have a minimum number of desires aimed at obtaining public recognition and fame. In the group of adolescents with mental retardation met such desires as "popularity," "fame," "a thousand subscribers on YouTube" etc.; visually impaired in the group: "RAPPING on the big stage", "be cool", "to be known", in the group hearing: "be an artist", "becoming a Director of the club "Model", "becoming a champion swimmer", "superior oil", etc. However, the need for recognition in adolescents with normative development was embodied in the aspirations of a social nature, but in a different form: the desire to achieve recognition from peers.


A significant number of statements based on the desires generated by a person's life in society indicates that the social needs of adolescents are sufficiently actualized. The differences between the groups of adolescents with developmental disabilities and with normative development are both in the degree of expression of socially-oriented desires, and in their specifics: the absence of altruistic desires in the groups of adolescents with mental retardation and hearing impairment, the greater expression of desires associated with the close environment and, on the contrary, the lack of expression of recognition needs in adolescents of the control group.

Insufficient actualization of social needs, delay in their development in adolescents with mental retardation, hearing impairment reduces the possibility of developing subjectivity of the individual.

In this regard, specialists dealing with this category of adolescents are required to make competent decisions and actions, identify and use effective socio-psychological technologies (Egorova & Zarechnaya, 2019; Fahrutdinova et al., 2016).


  • Aslanova, S. R. (2016). Social'nayaadaptaciyapridetskomcerebral'nomparaliche [Social adaptation in children with cerebral palsy]. Teacher of the XXI century, 3(1), 191-197.

  • Bozhovich, L. I. (2009). Lichnost' i eeformirovanie v detskomvozraste [Personality and its formation in childhood]. Piter.

  • Danilova, E. E. (2019). Soderzhanieidinamikamotivacionnyhpredpochtenijsovremennyhmladshihshkol'nikovimladshihpodrostkov [The Content and Dynamics of the Motivational Preferences of Modern Younger Schoolchildren and Younger Adolescents]. Psychological Science and Education, 24(4), 51–61.

  • Dolgin, K. G. (2018). The Adolescent: Development, Relationships, and Culture. Ohio Wesleyan University.

  • Edgar, A. A. B. (2020). Adolescence and Development: Clinical Psychology and Psychoanalysis. It’s all About Values. Glob J. Intellect Dev. Disabil, 7(1), 555705.

  • Egorova, M. A., & Zarechnaya, A. A. (2019). Osobennostirazvitiyasocial'no-kommunikativnyhkompetencijmladshihshkol'nikov s ZPR [Features of Development of Socio-Communicative Competence in Primary Schoolchildren with Developmental Delays]. Psychological Science and Education, 24(3), 74-84.

  • Elkina, N. P., & Giro, M. V. (2019). Osobennostilichnoctnogorazvitiyapodrostkov s DCP. [Features of personal development of adolescents with cerebral palsy]. Science and Society, 66-70.

  • Emelyanova, E. V. (2016). Psihologicheskieproblemysovremennogopodrostka i ihreshenie v treninge [Psychological problems of the modern teenager and theirsolution in training]. Genezis [in Rus.].

  • Fahrutdinova, R. A., Yarmakeev, I. E., & Fahrutdinov, R. R. (2016). Social adaptation of children with disabilities. Turkish online journal of design art and communication, 6, 1044-1050.

  • Feldstein, D. I. (2005). Psihologiyarazvitiyachelovekakaklichnosti [Psychology of human developmentas a person]. Izd-voMosk. psihol.-soc. in-ta. MODEK. [in Rus.].

  • Kazanskaya, V. G. (2008). Podrostok: Trudnostivzrosleniya [A teenager. The difficulties of growingup in]. Piter.

  • Kislyakov, P. A., Shmeleva, E. A., Luneva, L. F., Rybakova, A. I., & Feofanov, V. N. (2018). Social and psychological safety of adolescents with intellectual disabilities in special and inclusive schools of Russia. J. of Clin. and Diagnostic Res., 12(8), 17–20.

  • Koroleva, Y. A. (2016). Rol' social'nyhpotrebnostej v razvitiisocial'no-psihologicheskojkompetentnostipodrostkov s otkloneniyami v razvitii [The role of social needs in the development of socio-psychological competence of adolescents with developmental disabilities]. Defectology, 3, 26-36.

  • Koroleva, Y. A. (2018). Expert Assessment of Socio-Psychological Competence of Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities. Russian Psychological Journal, 15(4), 8-29.

  • Kostin, I. A. (2019). Growing up with ASD (autism spectrum disorder): directions and methods of psychological intervention. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 12(3), 54-72.

  • Litvak, A. G. (2006). Psihologiya slepyhislabovidyashchih [Psychology of the blind and visually impaired]. KARO.

  • Mallaev, D. M., Omarova, P. O., & Bazhukova, O. A. (2009). Psihologiyaobshcheniya i povedeniyaumstvennootstalogoshkol'nika[Psychology of communication and behavior of a mentallyretardedstudent]. Speech.

  • Pavlova, O. S. (2016). Osobennostisocial'nojadaptaciipodrostkov s DCP v usloviyahintegrirovannogoobucheniya [Features of social adaptation of adolescents with cerebral palsy in the context of integrated learning]. Concept, 20, 61-65.

  • Remschmidt, H. (1994). Podrostkovy`j i yunosheskij vozrast: problemy` stanovleniya lichnosti. [Adolescence and adolescence: problems of personality formation]. World.

  • Rudensky, E. V. (2020). Psihologiyanenormativnogorazvitiyalichnosti [Psychology of abnormal personality development]. Yurajt.

  • Soldatova, G. U., & Teslavskaya, O. I. (2018). Osobennostimezhlichnostnyhotnoshenijrossijskihpodrostkov v social'nyhsetyah [Interpersonal relations of Russian adolescents in social networks]. National Psychological Journal, 11(3), 12–22.

  • Volkova, I. P., & Koroleva, N. N. (2005). Teoretiko-metodologicheskie i organizacionnyeosnovypsihologicheskogosoprovozhdeniyareabilitaciiinvalidovpozreniyu [Theoretical, methodological and organizational bases of psychological support of rehabilitation of visuallyimpairedpeople]. Izvestiya RSPU named after A. I. Herzen. 5(12), 95-108.

  • Yakobson, S. G., & Prokina, N. F. (1967). Organizovannost' i usloviyaeeformirovaniya u mladshihshkol'nikov [Organizationand conditions of ist formation in primary school children]. Prosveshchenie.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

25 June 2021

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Personality, norm, pathology, behavior, uncertanity, COVID-19

Cite this article as:

Koroleva, Y., & Feofanov, V. (2021). Social Needs Of Adolescents With Developmental Disabilities. In M. Ovchinnikov, I. Trushina, E. Zabelina, & S. Kurnosova (Eds.), Personality in Norm and in Pathology, vol 112. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 46-52). European Publisher.