Assessment and treatment of deaf adults with psychiatric disorders: A review of the literature for practitioners

Sarah A. Landsberger, Ayesha Sajid, Leah Schmelkin, David R. Diaz, Courtney Weiler

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

11 Scopus citations


Many deaf individuals comprise a unique cultural and linguistic minority group. This article reviews the current research literature related to the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of culturally Deaf individuals suffering from mental disorders. Appropriate psychiatric assessment and treatment requires that clinicians be sensitive to issues of language and differences in social norms and cultural values. Emerging trends in research indicate greater diagnostic specificity and a broader range of diagnoses being assigned in services that are specialized for the treatment of deaf people with mental health issues. Culturally sensitive evaluation and treatment involves a thorough assessment of language modality and language fluency, deafness/audiological history, and cultural identification. Failure to consider these factors during the mental status exam can lead to misdiagnosis. Important issues that confound differential diagnosis and psychiatric treatment of the deaf population are highlighted and discussed. Recommendations for the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate care are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-97
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013


  • American Sign Language
  • Assessment
  • Deaf
  • Epidemiology
  • Interpreters
  • Mental illness
  • Mood disorders
  • Psychiatric treatment
  • Psychosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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