Is it abuse? Deaf female undergraduates' labeling of partner violence

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Psychiatry, Systems and Psychosocial Advances Research Center

Publication Date


Document Type



Adolescent; Adult; Aggression; Coercion; Domestic Violence; Education of Hearing Disabled; Female; Humans; Persons With Hearing Impairments; Sexual Partners; Spouse Abuse; Students; Young Adult


Communication Sciences and Disorders | Domestic and Intimate Partner Violence | Health Services Research | Mental and Social Health | Psychiatric and Mental Health | Psychiatry | Psychiatry and Psychology | Women's Health


The current study investigated the labeling of abuse experiences in a sample of 97 Deaf female undergraduate students, exploring the following questions: What is the prevalence of violent behaviors experienced by Deaf female undergraduates in their past-year relationships, what proportion of these relationships are identified as "abuse," and what scripts and strategies do Deaf female undergraduates utilize to label their experiences of partner violence? Results indicated that over half of the sample chose not to label past-year experiences of psychological aggression, physical assault, and sexual coercion as abuse, even when these experiences included severe violence. Implications for the Deaf education system will be discussed.

DOI of Published Version



J Deaf Stud Deaf Educ. 2012 Spring;17(2):273-86. doi: 10.1093/deafed/enr048. Epub 2011 Dec 2. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Journal of deaf studies and deaf education


At the time of publication, Melissa Anderson was not yet affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed