Mental Disorders in Deaf and Hard of Hearing Adult Outpatients: a Comparison of Linguistic Subgroups

Año: 2017
Editorial: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, vol. 22, nº 1 (2017) pp. 105-117
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Digital


Educación » Aspectos psicológicos y cognitivos


Deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) individuals who use signed language and those who use spoken language face different challenges and stressors. Accordingly, the profile of their mental problems may also differ. However, studies of mental disorders in this population have seldom differentiated between linguistic groups. Our study compares demographics, mental disorders, and levels of distress and functioning in 40 patients using Norwegian Sign Language (NSL) and 36 patients using spoken language. Assessment instruments were translated into NSL. More signers were deaf than hard of hearing, did not share a common language with their childhood caregivers, and had attended schools for DHH children. More Norwegian-speaking than signing patients reported medical comorbidity, whereas the distribution of mental disorders, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and daily functioning did not differ significantly. Somatic complaints and greater perceived social isolation indicate higher stress levels in DHH patients using spoken language than in those using sign language. Therefore, preventive interventions are necessary, as well as larger epidemiological and clinical studies concerning the mental health of all language groups within the DHH population.