A Silenced Population: Uncovering Correlates of Suicidal-Related Behavior Among Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Youth

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Background: Given challenges that exceed the normal developmental requirements of adolescence, deaf and hard-of-hearing (DHH) youth are believed to be at elevated risk for engaging in suicide-related behavior (SRB). Unfortunately, little is known about the mechanisms that put these youth potentially at risk. Aims: To determine whether peer relationship difficulties are related to increased risk of SRB in DHH youth. Method: Student records (n = 74) were retrieved from an accredited educational center for deaf and blind students in the United States. Results: Peer relationship difficulties were found to be significantly associated with engagement in SRB but not when accounting for depressive symptomatology. Limitations: The restricted sample limits generalizability. Conclusions regarding risk causation cannot be made due to the cross-sectional nature of the study. Conclusion: These results suggest the need for future research that examines the mechanisms of the relationship between peer relationship difficulties, depression, and suicide risk in DHH youth and potential preventive interventions to ameliorate the risks for these at-risk youth.

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