Suicidal behaviors and help-seeking attitudes among deaf and hard-of-hearing college students


Objective The objective of this study was to examine the prevalence of suicidal ideation, suicide attempts, and help‐seeking attitudes among D/HH and hearing college students. Method A total of 500,860 students completed the ACHA‐NCHA‐IIb (Fall 2011‐Spring 2015). Survey administration and sampling methods differed across institutions. We randomly selected hearing students to have a 1:1 ratio of D/HH and hearing students (analytic N = 12,056). The mean age was 20.3 years, and the sample was predominantly white (68%) and female (65%). Multinomial and binary logistic regressions determined the relation between hearing status, suicide ideation and attempt, and help‐seeking. Results D/HH college students were more likely than hearing college students to have seriously considered suicide or attempted suicide in their lifetime. [Correction added on November 26, 2019, after first online publication: The phrase “but not in the past year” was deleted in the previous sentence.] In adjusted analyses, D/HH college students were more likely than hearing college students to have attempted suicide in the past year (OR 2.42, 95% CI 1.85, 3.17). There were no differences between D/HH and hearing groups in help‐seeking attitudes.Conclusions Findings from this national data set indicate that D/HH college students are more likely to consider or attempt suicide. These results underscore the need for focused suicide risk prevention interventions with this population.

Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior

What is this paper about?

This paper uses data from a national dataset of college students provided by the American College Health Association. We analyzed data of college students between the ages of 18 to 24 years old, to compare suicide ideation and suicide attempts among deaf/hard-of-hearing and non-deaf college students.

How does this paper improve public health?

This paper added to the existing scientific evidence indicating DHH people are at higher risk of suicide ideation and attempt. This paper calls for mental health services to be more accessible to DHH college students.


  • Is this paper peer reviewed? This paper is published in Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior and was peer reviewed prior to publication.

  • Who paid for this project? This project received no direct funding, but the authors (Drs. Fox and Barnett) were employed at the University of Rochester Medical Center and were supported by the National Institute of Mental Health T32MH020061 and the Prevention Research Centers Program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention U48DP005026. The National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are government funded using tax payer dollars. The content of this paper is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funders.

  • Are there any conflicts of interest? There are no conflicts of interest.

  • Other disclosures: The opinions, findings, and conclusions presented/reported in this article/presentation are those of the author(s), and are in no way meant to represent the corporate opinions, views, or policies of the American College Health Association (ACHA). ACHA does not warrant nor assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information presented in this article/presentation.