GSBS Dissertations and Theses

Approval Date


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Academic Program

Master of Science in Clinical Investigation



First Thesis Advisor

Douglas M. Ziedonis, MD, MPH


Persons With Hearing Impairments, Behavioral Research, Psychological Trauma, Research Design, Deaf Trauma Survivors


Theses, UMMS; Persons With Hearing Impairments; Behavioral Research; Psychological Trauma; Research Design


Deaf individuals experience significant obstacles to participating in behavioral health research when careful consideration is not given to accessibility in the design of study methodology. To inform such considerations, we conducted a secondary analysis of a mixed-methods study that explored 16 Deaf trauma survivors’ help-seeking experiences. Our objective was to identify key findings and qualitative themes from consumers' own words that can be applied to the design of behavioral clinical trials methodology. In many ways, the themes that emerged are what we would expect of any research participant, Deaf or hearing – a need for communication access, empathy, respect, strict confidentiality procedures, trust, and transparency of the research process. However, additional considerations must be made to better recruit, retain, and engage Deaf trauma survivors. We summarize our findings in a “Checklist for Designing Deaf Behavioral Clinical Trials” to operationalize the steps researchers should take to apply Deaf-friendly approaches in their empirical work.



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