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Title: Deaf people and mental well-being : exploring and measuring mental well-being in British Sign Language
Author: Rogers, Katherine
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2013
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Background: The prevalence of mental health difficulties in d/Deaf populations is higher than that of the hearing population. The association between mental health difficulties in childhood and well-being in adulthood amongst d/Deaf populations, including as perceived by Deaf people themselves, has been little explored. Access by d/Deaf people to mental health services is poor. In addition, there is a paucity of mental health assessments available in British Sign Language. Aims: The aims of this thesis were; (i) to understand the association between childhood and adulthood mental well-being in d/Deaf populations; (ii) to find out how well the standardised mental health assessments can be used with d/Deaf populations; and (iii) to explore Deaf people’s perspectives on mental well-being. Methods: BSL versions of four mental health assessments (the Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation – Outcome Measure (CORE-OM), the Patient Health Questionnaire(PHQ-9), the Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-7), and the Work and Social Adjustment Scale (WSAS)) were produced by carrying out a translation process to ensure that the statements in the assessments are linguistically and culturally meaningful to a Deaf population. The reliability and validation of the mental health assessments were examined by piloting them with d/Deaf populations. In order to gain Deaf people’s own perspectives on mental well-being, four focus groups were set up in England. Results: Thematic analysis of the focus group data identified pre-disposing factors in childhood that Deaf participants believed would affect adult mental well-being. The CORE-OM BSL, PHQ-9 BSL, GAD-7 BSL, and WSAS BSL were found to be reliable and have been validated. The pilot study which compared the reliability between the BSL and English version of one mental health assessment (CORE-OM) as completed by d/Deaf people found that two domains had lower reliability in English in comparison with the BSL version. Conclusions: Reliable standardised instruments in BSL are required to identify and assess common mental health problems amongst Deaf people. These are now available. Deaf people identified a number of factors that are important to well-being, for example, ease of communication with others, a strong sense of identity, a ‘can do’ attitude, and a firm sense of belonging. These factors are of importance if we are to attempt to reduce the prevalence of mental health difficulties in d/Deaf populations in the future.
Supervisor: Lovell, Karina; Young, Alys Sponsor: National Institute for Health Research ; British Society for Mental Health and Deafness
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: British Sign Language ; d/Deaf populations ; Mental well-being ; Assessment