Retrospective Parent-Child Communication Difficulties and Risk for Depression in Deaf Adults

Summary (Abstract)

This paper describes the relationship between retrospective communication difficulties and current depressive symptomatology. A total of 143 deaf/hard-of-hearing late adolescents and adults (64 % White; 55 % female) completed questionnaires related to parent communication, language history and current psychological functioning. Logistic regression models were used to estimate the likelihood of having depression that is associated with understanding parents’ communication after controlling for gender, hearing level, and language history. Significant odds ratio indicated that the difficulties in understanding basic communication with parents increased the odds of depression symptomatology. The odds ratio indicates that when holding all other variables constant, the odds of reporting depression were at least 8 times higher for those who reported being able to understand some to none of what the same-sex parent said. For the different-gender parent, only the mother’s communication with the male individual was associated with depression. Although our study findings suggest that DHH men and women with history of communication difficulties at home are at risk for depression in adulthood, they do not provide information on the causal mechanisms linking communication difficulties early in life and depression later in life. Greater attention should be given to promoting healthy communication between DHH girls and their mothers as well as DHH boys and their fathers, which might reduce the impact on later emergence of depression in the DHH individual.

Video Transcript


Kushalnagar, P., Bruce, S., Sutton, T., & Leigh, I.

Publication Date



Journal of Physical and Developmental Disabilities





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