Kim Sune Karrasch Jepsen

Kim Sune Karrasch Jepsen


Primary fields of research

My research focuses on how diagnosed impairment or mental illness constrains social participation and inclusion in the close reference group and its local environment. The certainty of medical diagnosis and advanced treatment enable many individuals to regain functional health despite a permanent disability or psychic illness. Yet, groups (children, young people, adults) with long-term/lifelong diagnoses are much more marginalized or excluded from formal community participation than the population norms. This relates to widespread psychosocial difficulties e.g., in school, education, and work. Many groups with diagnosed disabilities face persistent social barriers. 

My research focuses on why and whether people with the same diagnosis experience different participatory barriers (or none) in the close group they identify with, interact with, and invest in. I utilize basic principles from micro-sociology, social psychology, and the sociology of emotions to investigate how barriers arise from behavior, interaction, and emotional relationships.

It is a social fact that social inclusion is based on mutual adjustment on the micro-scale of face-to-face group interaction. Inclusion in the proximate/close group is necessary for identity and well-being because it provides social acceptance, esteem, and comfort. These are resources for building up self-esteem. I explore if impairment or psychic illness constrains social inclusion or not - including how group behavior generates inclusion or exclusion. 

Disability is medically conditioned: diagnosed and treated. Therefore, treatment effects must also be basic to analyze inclusion/exclusion in group life. I use quantitative and qualitative methods, including video methods.

Current research

My current research explores the inclusion/exclusion of adolescents with hearing loss in school environments. My research forms part of a larger research project "How do we belong together?" (Inge Kryger Pedersen PI, financed by the Velux Foundation). In collaboration with the Danish Centre for Social Scientific Research, we examine why children, young people, and adults with hearing loss often and persistently encounter barriers to social participation and preventive social mechanisms. 

I explore why young people with hearing loss more often have psychosocial difficulties than control groups without. I examine clinical research results and explanations but the focus is on the social mechanisms supporting or breaking with behavior and interaction in close groups (peers) at school. Micro-sociology has shown that the group is a necessary condition for inclusion, but not sufficient. It all depends on what goes on in group space - I examine this in three areas:

Problem 1: From Outsider to Insider: social status, psychosocial conditions, group's interactional behavior in the school space 

Problem 2: Many adolescents with hearing loss are good in two-person conversation because they can easily utilize highly developed skills for lip reading, and body expressions, and easily discriminate speech sounds. However, they often fall out of social group communication (multi-talk). The project explores the importance of the group's composition (number, location, characteristics). Video-based. 

Problem 3: Psychosocial difficulties are frequent for young people with hearing loss. How can this be explained by certain emotional relationships at stake in communication and can special considerations in communication prevent difficulties from arising?

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