Author: Marcella L. Sintos

Research Article

Year: 2020, Volume 20 Number 3

Page: 42-55


Researches on Deaf mental health show that Deaf individuals are two to three times more vulnerable to psychological distress compared to their hearing counterparts because they have been exposed to several environmental vulnerabilities. Using the assumptions of stress-vulnerability-protective factors model of Liberman (2008), this study looked into the moderating role of protective factors (general self-efficacy and perceived functional social support) on the effect of vulnerabilities in the psychological distress of 120 self-contained Deaf college students aged 18 to 25 (M=21.83; SD=4.11). Results show that (a) there is a non-significant relationship between environmental vulnerabilities and psychological distress, and (b) general self-efficacy and perceived functional support do not act as moderators. This entails inapplicability of Liberman’s (2008) framework across Deaf sample and may be attributed to three factors: (a) normalization of environmental vulnerabilities in Deaf culture, (b) occurrence of inconsistent mediation in perceived functional social support, and (c) unique context of Deaf individuals in being in a hearing society. Limitations, together with recommendations in research and practice, are discussed to support the mandates of UNCRPD and Magna Carta for PWDs.

Keywords: Deaf, environmental vulnerabilities, psychological distress, self-efficacy, social support