Critical Health Literacy in American Deaf College Students

Summary (Abstract)

This study investigates the relationship between critical health literacy (CHL) and discussion of health information among college deaf students who use American Sign Language. CHL is crucial in making appropriate health-related decisions for oneself and aiding others in making good health-choices. Research on general youth population shows that frequent health-related discussions with both friends and family is associated with higher health literacy. However, for our sample of deaf college-aged students who might have had less access to communication at home, we hypothesize that health-related discussions with same-age peers may be more important for critical health literacy. We asked two questions to assess the frequency of health-related discussions with friends and families: “How often do you discuss health-related information with your friends” and “How often do you discuss your family medical history with your family?”. Participants rated their experience on a scale from 1-5 (1=never, 5=always). To assess CHL, 38 deaf and 38 hearing participants were shown a short scenario that showed a woman confiding in her friend after finding a lump in her breast. Participants were then asked what the friend should say. Responses were scored by a team of 3 raters using a CHL rubric. As predicted, results showed a strong relationship between discussion of health-related information with friends and CHL in both deaf and hearing samples. Discussion with family was linked to CHL only for hearing participants, but not deaf participants in our study. These findings underscore the importance of socializing with health-literate, accessible peers to improve the health literacy and health outcomes of all deaf people.

Video Transcript

Author(s)

Kushalnagar, P., Ryan, C., Smith, S., & Kushalnagar, R.

Publication Date

2017

Journal

Health Promotion International

Volume

33

Issue

5

DOI

10.1093/heapro/dax022