Last updated on March 2018

Mechanisms of Health Literacy and Information Accessibility in the Deaf


Brief description of study

The purpose of this proposal is to examine the attitudes, knowledge, and skills related to health information that influence health literacy among Deaf individuals.The study team will also examine frequently overlooked potential predictors of health literacy, including cognitive abilities, resilience, and self-efficacy. To achieve the study objectives, researchers will conduct an explanatory sequential mixed methods design using extensive quantitative data collection procedures, namely, cross-sectional surveys and measures that will identify predictors and moderators of health literacy with Deaf and hearing subjects. These results will inform the subsequent qualitative assessment using elicitation interviews that will help explain the quantitative results, and elucidate how and why Deaf individuals access and understand health information. A community advisory board consisting of Deaf community members will provide oversight to the proposal that will be led by multiple Deaf investigators, including the PI. The Deaf community, due to communication barriers, relative social marginalization, and their reliance on visual learning, provides a unique insight into how health information is distributed and disseminated visually. Findings may be applicable to other individuals with hearing loss who navigate and cope with life more visually than the typical hearing person. This will be critical to determine more accurately the effect of visual learning and existing online health information on health literacy.

Detailed Study Description

University of Michigan(UM) is the clinical coordinating center (CCC) and data coordinating center (DCC) for this study. There are no subject recruitment or interaction will take place at UM. CCC engages clinicians and the clinical research mission and provides the training and professional development to ensure effective study by recruiting and maintaining the study sites performed at the Hurley Medical Center at Flint, Michigan, The National Technical Institute of Technology(NTID) at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, and The Sinai Deaf Health(SDH)program in Chicago, Illinois including participates. Thus, educating and training investigators, study coordinators, and other research staff to ensure an ongoing quality improvement of research processes. DCC is highly invested in producing the highest quality survey questionnaires for use with deaf ASL-users and hearing, English speakers. The study team will only use the best possible ASL translations of the data collection measures in order to best obtain accurate, high-quality research.

University of Michigan (UM) will function as the lead site, not as a performance site. UM will oversee all three other sites and conduct quality checks with each site, assist with training of the staff for standardization, and conduct data management/storage of de-identified data along with analysis. Hard copies and identifiers will be maintained at each site as per their approved IRB protocols.

The two primary objectives of this proposal are:

  • To elucidate the role of information marginalization on health literacy in Deaf American Sign Language (ASL) users
  • To better understand the mechanisms of health literacy in this population so as to identify viable targets for future health literacy intervention development. This proposal is responsive to PAR-10-133's request for studies that assess mechanisms underlying health literacy, including roles of cognition, culture, language fluency, and information-seeking and interpretation ability in the deaf population and, how these may differ from the hearing population.

A secondary objective is to assess how varying levels of hearing loss can affect individuals' abilities to access and comprehend health information and their health literacy adequacy.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03093779

Contact Investigators or Research Sites near you

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Teri Hedding, MA, CDI

Mount Sinai Hospital
Chicago, IL United States
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Kay Taylor, Ph.D.

Hurley Medical Center
Flint, MI United States
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Jennifer Forquer, BA

Rochester Institute of Technology/National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Rochester, NY United States
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