Hard-of-hearing children prone to maltreatment

March 11, 2011

Hearing-impaired college students report more abuse and neglect as children and consequently greater symptoms of adult mood disorders than their hearing counterparts, according to research conducted at the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York.

Hearing-impaired college students report more abuse and neglect as children and consequently greater symptoms of adult mood disorders than their hearing counterparts, according to research conducted at the Rochester Institute of Technology, New York.

These data were presented at the 2010 annual meeting of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, held in San Francisco.

Investigators surveyed 425 college students, 317 hearing and 108 deaf or hard of hearing. They were asked to describe any type of maltreatment they had experienced before age 16 and were assessed for clinical symptoms of depression and other mood disorders as well as cognition.

The deaf and hard-of-hearing students reported significantly more instances of child maltreatment than the hearing respondents (77% vs 49%; P

In all domains studied, deaf and hard-of-hearing students indicated greater rates of maltreatment compared with hearing students, including emotional abuse (48% vs 29%; PPP PP

Symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder also were more frequent among the deaf and hard-of-hearing cohort.

Having a deaf parent, having a family member who signs, or being part of the deaf community did not reduce the risk of child maltreatment.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing respondents who had suffered maltreatment had higher rates of negative cognitions about themselves, the world, and the future compared with hearing persons who had suffered child maltreatment.

Burnash DL, Rothman-Marshall G, Schenkel LS. Child maltreatment in deaf college students: an analysis of the prevalence, characteristics, and clinical outcomes. Poster presented at: 44th Annual Convention, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT); November 19, 2010; San Francisco, CA.