Subject Area

Counseling, Psychology, Social Work


If language is delayed through developmental milestones in childhood, individuals may have less access to the resiliency tools necessary to build social support and positive social identity. Suicide attempts may represent a maladaptive form of communication stemming from delayed ability to express unmet emotional needs. To evaluate the relationship between age of language acquisition and suicidality, analysis was conducted on self-reported data from prelingual deaf adults in substance use disorder treatment. Suicidal ideation was reported by 50.5% of consumers, and lifetime suicide attempts were reported by 42.1%. Individuals with significantly delayed language acquisition presented with the highest rates (61.1%) of suicidal ideation.