Psychiatric disorder prevalence among deaf and hard-of-hearing outpatients

David R. Diaz, Sarah A. Landsberger, Jessica Povlinski, Jerry Sheward, Charleen Sculley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations


Objectives To contribute to the dearth of literature on the prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders in deaf adults, this study examined the diagnostic and clinical characteristics of deaf psychiatric outpatients in comparison to hearing psychiatric outpatients. Methods Archival clinical data for deaf adults (N=241), treated at a specialized, linguistically and culturally affirmative outpatient community mental health program from 2002 to 2010, was compared to data from a random sample of hearing adult outpatients (N=345) who were treated at the same community mental health center. Results In various diagnostic categories, significant differences were seen between the deaf and hearing groups: bipolar disorders (3.7% versus 14.2%), impulse control disorders (15.8% versus 5.2%), anxiety disorders (18.7% versus 30.1%), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (11.2% versus 4.9%), pervasive developmental disorders (3.3% versus 0.3%), substance use disorders (27.8% versus 48.4%), and intellectual disabilities (10.4% versus 2.9%). Conclusions The deaf outpatient group evidenced a different diagnostic profile than the hearing sample. It is suggested that the use of culturally competent and fluent ASL-signing clinicians provides more diagnostic clarity and is encouraged as a best practice for the care of deaf individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)991-995
Number of pages5
JournalComprehensive Psychiatry
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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