AIMS: To examine prevalence and correlates of psychopathology in deaf adolescents using a multi-method multi-informant approach. METHODS: Data for the study came from checklist assessments by parents (Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL)) and teachers (Teacher's Report Form (TRF)) of 70 deaf adolescents aged 13 to 21 years, from semi-structured clinical interviews of the adolescents (Semi-structured Clinical Interview for Children and Adolescents (SCICA)), and from expert ratings of dossier data. RESULTS: The percentages of Total Problems scores in the borderline clinical range in this population as found with the CBCL, TRF and SCICA are 28%, 32% and 49-63% respectively. Expert dossier ratings identified psychiatric caseness in 49% and DSM-classifications in 46% of the adolescents (primary classifications: emotional disorder 27%, behavioral disorder 11%, other disorder 7%). Cross-informant agreement between single ratings and expert dossier ratings was better than agreement between single ratings. Logistic regression analyses revealed that low IQ, a signing mode of communication and a history of three or more physical disorders were associated with psychiatric caseness. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest a high prevalence of psychopathology in the population studied and argue for a special focus on the early detection of significant emotional and behavioral problems as well as a multi-informant approach to the assessment of disorder in deaf children and adolescents. The correlational findings support the view that it is not deafness per se that contributes to psychiatric problems.
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