Stigma in Mothers of Deaf Children

Document Type : Original


1 Department of Psychiatric Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran.

2 Department of Nursing, School of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modarres University, Tehran, Iran

3 Research Committee member and PhD Candidate in Nursing, School of Nursing and Midwifery, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

4 Department of Otorhinolaryngology, Fatemi Hospital, Ardabil University of Medical Sciences, Ardabil , Iran.

5 Ardabil education and training organization, Ardabil, Iran

6 Audiology Clinic, Welfare Organization, Ardabil, Iran.


A deaf child creates a feeling of stigma in many hearing parents. Stigma in mothers can have a negative impact on a child’s treatment and rehabilitation process. Therefore, this study was conducted to evaluate the extent of stigma in mothers with deaf children.
 Materials and Methods:
This descriptive, cross-sectional study was conducted in 2013 among 90 mothers with deaf children. The data-collection instrument included the stigma scale in the mothers of children with disabilities. The reliability and validity of the instrument were confirmed through content validity and Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (α=86%), respectively. Data were analyzed using SPSS-15 software. 
Results showed that most mothers suffer from stigma due to having a deaf child. The mean stigma score was 96.48 ±27.72. In total, 24.4% of mothers reported that they had received strange and mocking looks; 72.2% regarded child deafness as a sign of divine retribution; and 33.3% felt ashamed of their child’s deafness. There was an inverse relationship between the mother’s level of education and mean stigma scores (P<0.033). The stigma score was higher in mothers who were living independently of their relatives (P<0.029). The mean stigma score in mothers of children with a cochlear implant was lower than that of mothers of children with earphones (86.70 vs. 99.64), and this difference tended towards significance (P=0.057).
This study showed that half of all mothers with deaf children were scorned and felt ashamed of having a deaf child in the family because of the stigma. The majority of mothers with deaf children felt stigmatized, and only their education and residency status affected this issue. The mothers of cochlear-implanted children perceived less stigma. Due to the various social and psychological problems caused by hearing impairment, it is necessary to consider the emotional health and psychological state of the mothers in addition to rehabilitation programs and standard services for the children themselves.


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