Well-Being and Health Literacy
Pollard, R. Q. & Barnett, S. (2009). Health-related vocabulary knowledge among deaf adults. Rehabilitation Psychology, 54(2), 182-185.
Many deaf individuals are at increased risk for fund-of-information deficits, including deficits in health-related information. Research on health information knowledge, an aspect of health literacy, demonstrates an association between low health literacy and health disparities in many populations. Deaf individuals are at risk for low health literacy, but no research has been conducted on this topic. This study investigated the health-related knowledge in a sample of 57 deaf adults. Results found that even this highly educated deaf participant sample demonstrated risk for low health literacy. The general deaf population is likely at even higher risk for health problems associated with low health literacy.
Pollard, R., Dean, R., O’Hearn, A. & Hayes, S. (2009). Adapting health education materials for deaf audiences. Rehabilitation Psychology, 54(2), 232-238.
This resource discusses the approach of the Deaf Wellness Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center to adapt health education materials, including mental health information materials, for Deaf audiences. The approach seeks to bridge the literacy and fund-of-information gaps, as well as cultural differences, to make healthcare information more accessible and relevant for Deaf audiences. The methodology presented here has wide applicability to attempt to make public and mental health information accessible for Deaf signing audiences, including those with language deprivation.
Smith, S. R., & Samar, V. J. (2016). Dimensions of deaf/hard-of-hearing and hearing adolescents’ health literacy and health knowledge. Journal of health communication, 21(sup2), 141-154.
In this study, the authors explore the critical dimensions of health literacy and health knowledge among both deaf/hard-of-hearing (D/HH) and hearing adolescents and make comparisons across groups. The research uniquely takes into consideration the use of English in many health literacy and health knowledge testing instruments, which can confound true measurement of health knowledge. The researchers controlled for demographic factors and used ASL translations to limit the influence of English knowledge on standard health literacy measures. Qualitative findings from focus groups were used to create original items to measure interactive and critical health literacy skills and experiences of D/HH young adults. Findings indicate that D/HH adolescents have significantly weaker general health literacy, functional health literacy, and cardiovascular health knowledge than their hearing adolescent peers. Those who self-reported English as their best language and who reported stronger identification with hearing cultural norms had higher functional health literacy and cardiovascular health knowledge. It is suggested that tailored interventions and educational strategies are needed to improve healthcare understanding and decision-making. The authors recommend dialogue-type assessment protocols and novel interactive tools that reflect sociolinguistic norms of the deaf and hard of hearing community should be explored in order to assess health literacy and knowledge of this population.