Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 353–358 | Cite as

A Pilot Study of Deaf Trauma Survivors’ Experiences: Early Traumas Unique to Being Deaf in a Hearing World

  • Melissa L. Anderson
  • Kelly S. Wolf Craig
  • Wyatte C. Hall
  • Douglas M. Ziedonis
Exploratory Study

Abstract

Conducting semi-structured American Sign Language interviews with 17 Deaf trauma survivors, this pilot study explored Deaf individuals’ trauma experiences and whether these experiences generally align with trauma in the hearing population. Most commonly reported traumas were physical assault, sudden unexpected deaths, and “other” very stressful events. Although some “other” events overlap with traumas in the general population, many are unique to Deaf people (e.g., corporal punishment at oral/aural school if caught using sign language, utter lack of communication with hearing parents). These findings suggest that Deaf individuals may experience developmental traumas distinct to being raised in a hearing world. Such traumas are not captured by available trauma assessments, nor are they considered in evidence-based trauma treatments.

Keywords

Posttraumatic stress disorder PTSD Life Events Checklist Deaf and hard-of-hearing community Developmental trauma 

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Melissa L. Anderson
    • 1
  • Kelly S. Wolf Craig
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wyatte C. Hall
    • 3
  • Douglas M. Ziedonis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Systems & Psychosocial Advances Research CenterUniversity of Massachusetts Medical SchoolShrewsburyUSA
  2. 2.Connecticut Department of Developmental ServicesNewingtonUSA
  3. 3.National Center for Deaf Health ResearchUniversity of Rochester Medical CenterRochesterUSA

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