Deaf individuals have more cardiovascular risks than the general population that are believed to be related to their cardiovascular health knowledge disparities. This phenomenological study describes where 20 deaf sign language-using adolescents from Rochester, New York, many who possess many positive characteristics to support their health literacy, learn cardiovascular health information and their lived experiences accessing health information. The goal is to ultimately use this information to improve the delivery of cardiovascular health education to this population and other deaf adolescents at a higher risk for weak health literacy. Deaf bilingual researchers interviewed deaf adolescents, transcribed and coded the data, and described the findings. Five major sources of cardiovascular health information were identified including family, health education teachers, healthcare providers, printed materials, and informal sources. Despite possessing advantageous characteristics contributing to stronger health literacy, study participants described significant challenges with accessing health information from each source. They also demonstrated inconsistencies in their cardiovascular health knowledge, especially regarding heart attack, stroke, and cholesterol. These findings suggest a great need for additional public funding to research deaf adolescents’ informal health-related learning, develop accessible and culturally appropriate health surveys and health education programming, improve interpreter education, and disseminate information through social media.
  • Author(s):
    Smith, SR., Kushalnagar, P., & Hauser, PC.
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  • Journal:
    Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
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Smith, S. R., Kushalnagar, P., & Hauser, P. C. (2015). Deaf Adolescents' Learning of Cardiovascular Health Information: Sources and Access Challenges. Journal of deaf studies and deaf education, 20(4), 408–418.