Subject Area

Counseling, Psychology, Rehabilitation Counseling, Social Work


Interpersonal violence is a leading cause of death and pervasive public health issue in the US. Although some research suggests that Deaf people experience disparities in interpersonal violence exposure compared to the general population, most prior research has been conducted using written English survey measures or in areas where exceptionally high levels of educational attainment failed to mirror the characteristics of the Deaf community at large. To address these limitations, the current secondary analysis leveraged data collected via an American Sign Language survey instrument to compare rates of interpersonal violence exposure and violence myth acceptance between Deaf (n = 75) and hearing (n = 111) samples extracted from the Ohio general population. Contrary to prior literature, rates of violence exposure were largely similar across Deaf and hearing samples. Yet, Deaf participants more likely to endorse myths about relationship and sexual violence compared to hearing participants. In other words, Deaf participants were more likely to blame themselves and other Deaf victims for their experiences of victimization, rather than shift the blame to the perpetrator of those violence. Combined with the low level of access to domestic violence and sexual violence workshops reported by the Deaf sample, current results call for increased psychoeducation efforts that specifically target members of the Deaf community. Similar to the approaches used in this study, we specifically recommend the application of community-engaged methodologies through which Deaf survivors of interpersonal violence guide the development and implementation of psychoeducational efforts for their peers. Additional implications and limitations are discussed.