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The influence of individual and social factors on attitudes and stigma towards deaf people

Research output: Thesis › Doctoral Thesis

  • Susan Doak
Publication date10/12/2020
Number of pages194
Awarding Institution
Award date10/12/2020
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Section 1 describes a systematic literature review investigating the factors that affect attitudes towards deaf people. Four databases (Academic Search Ultimate, PsycInfo, Cinahl, and Medline) were searched and identified studies that utilised quantitative methodology measuring attitudes towards deaf people. Several studies reported the influence of factors such as gender, age, knowledge of deaf issues, contact with deaf people and deaf awareness training. The results highlighted the impact of contact with deaf people and deaf awareness training on improving attitudes towards this group, although methodological limitations and wide variation in results make conclusions complex and reduces generalisability.
Section 2 describes a research paper which investigated the influence of adult attachment styles and the capacity for empathy on health professionals’ stigma towards deaf mental health service users and mental health service users and the relationship between implicit and explicit attitudes. The study was conducted online and used explicit self-report measures in addition to the stigma measure, which utilised a randomised vignette design, and implicit attitudes were measured using the Implicit Association Task (IAT). A 2x2 factorial ANOVA conducted on the stigma measure showed a main effect of contact and an interaction effect of contact and vignette. The results indicated that participants with more contact with deaf people were more stigmatising towards hearing people with mental health problems, than deaf people with mental health problems. However, these conclusions are tentative. The implicit and explicit attitudes did not correlate.
Section 3 describes a critical and reflective appraisal of the research project; key stages of the project are discussed including setting up an online study, recruitment, data collection, and data analysis. Personal reflections are considered and suggestions for future research are provided.