Mental health in deaf adults: symptoms of anxiety and depression among hearing and deaf individuals

J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. Winter 2007;12(1):1-7. doi: 10.1093/deafed/enl015. Epub 2006 Sep 1.


Individuals with disabilities encounter practical and social problems beyond those experienced by nondisabled individuals. This extra burden may in turn increase the risk of developing mental health problems. The objective of this article is to disclose the mental health situation among deaf individuals compared to a control sample of hearing individuals. The analyses are based on two separate Norwegian postal surveys, one among the general population (1995-1997) and one among the deaf population (2001). A shortened version of the Hopkins Symptom Checklist was used to disclose the degree of mental distress among the respondents. Three questions common to the studies were analyzed to determine differences between the two groups. Analyses revealed that the deaf respondents showed significantly more symptoms of mental health problems than the hearing respondents. The results point to the need for focussing more attention on the mental health of deaf children and adults. Society must be made aware of the special risks that deaf children and adults encounter with respect to mental health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Anxiety Disorders / diagnosis
  • Anxiety Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Anxiety Disorders / psychology
  • Audiometry / methods
  • Comorbidity
  • Deafness / diagnosis
  • Deafness / epidemiology*
  • Demography
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / diagnosis
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / epidemiology*
  • Depressive Disorder, Major / psychology
  • Female
  • Hearing*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Distribution
  • Surveys and Questionnaires