202246 Odds of Self Reported Suicide Behaviors in Deaf and Hard of Hearing College Entering Adults

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Amanda O'Hearn, PhD , Department of Psychiatry (Psychology), University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY
Vincent Samar, PhD , Department of Research and Teacher Education, National Technical Institute for the Deaf, Rochester, NY
Steven Barnett, MD , Family Medicine Research Programs, University of Rochester School of Medicine, Rochester, NY
Background: Studies indicate that deaf and hard of hearing (D/HOH) people may be at higher risk for suicide behaviors. Purpose: To compare D/HOH to hearing incoming freshmen using the NCDHR Health Behavior Survey (HBS). Methodology: 168 D/HOH college entering adults and 578 hearing peers completed the HBS. The HBS is based on several national health risk surveys and was presented in a modified written English format designed to be linguistically accessible to participants. Items included suicide ideation and attempts within the past 12 months, depression within the past two weeks, past use of depression medication, substance use within the past 12 months, socioeconomic status, and race/ethnicity. Audiometric hearing loss and reading comprehension data were also obtained for the D/HOH participants. Results: D/HOH women reported comparable levels of suicide ideation but 3.6 times higher odds of suicide attempts than hearing women. D/HOH men did not differ from hearing men in their reported suicide behavior odds. These results were not altered after controlling for age, SES, race/ethnicity, reported recent depression, reported history of depression medication, and reported levels of substance use. Conclusions: D/HOH college entering women may be at substantially higher risk for suicide attempts than their hearing peers. The interaction of other deafness-related and gender specific quality of life and mental health factors may explain the observed disparity in reported suicide attempt odds for D/HOH women. Understanding the specific roles of hearing status, gender, and mental health experiences as suicide risk factors may help develop targeted intervention procedures for this population.

Learning Objectives:
Describe the difference in self-reported suicidal behaviors between deaf and hearing incoming college freshmen students.

Keywords: Deaf, Suicide

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I co-wrote the article and was on the research committee that conducted the research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.