Abuse Not Silenced for Some

Deaf, hard-of-hearing youths more often abused, study finds

(RxWiki News) Neglect, physical and sexual abuse is more than 25 percent higher among deaf and hard-of-hearing children compared to hearing youths.

The research from Rochester Institute of Technology also indicates a correlation between child mistreatment and higher incidences of negative cognition, depression and post-traumatic stress in adulthood.

Researchers surveyed 425 college students (317 hearing and 108 deaf), asking them to list and describe any maltreatment or abuse they suffered before age 16. A total of 79 percent of deaf and heard-of-hearing students reported maltreatment compared to 49 percent of hearing respondents. The degree of hearing loss appeared to correlate with increased severity in maltreatment.

Deaf and hard-of-hearing students who suffered abuse reported more negative feelings in relation to themselves, others and the future compared to hearing students who were also maltreated.

Interestingly having a parent or guardian who was deaf or who signed did not appear to decrease maltreatment for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

According to childhelp.org, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in a projected 3.2 million child-abuse reports and allegations in 2007 alone.

Review Date: 
February 17, 2011