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Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 2014 Feb;45(1):42-51. doi: 10.1007/s10578-013-0375-9.

Psychiatric diagnoses and psychosocial needs of outpatient deaf children and adolescents.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, IU Health Neuroscience Center, Indiana University School of Medicine, Goodman Hall, 355 W. 16th Street, 2nd Floor, Indianapolis, IN, USA,


Deaf youth may be more vulnerable to psychiatric disorders but very little research data is available. The current study identified prevalence rates of psychiatric disorders and examined the psychosocial needs and strengths of deaf youth aged 4-17 receiving specialized outpatient mental health services for the deaf. Compared to hearing peers, deaf youth had greater rates of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, conduct, autism-spectrum and bipolar disorders and spent three times longer in treatment than their hearing peers. In the deaf subsample, moderate-severe risk was found in social functioning (33.3 %) and suicidal behavior (14 %). Deaf youth had moderate to severe impairment in social relationships (54.8 %), school functioning (42.9 %). Over one-third of deaf youth had impaired family relationships, living situation, communication, judgment and physical health. Deaf youth present with higher rates of certain clinical disorders and have deficits in multiple life domains that may impact functioning and create a longer treatment course.

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