Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type


Degree Name



Counselor Education

First Advisor

George P. Parris


Individuals who are D/deaf experience significant barriers and disparities when accessing mental health services. Factors associated with improving knowledge and beliefs could reduce these disparities among mental health professionals by incorporating cultural competence during professional training, academic curricular, and internship programs. The purpose of this study was to examined the relationship between mental health professionals’ knowledge and belief as predictors of attitudes toward individuals who are D/deaf. Variances in demographic data also were explored as predictors of attitudes regarding individuals who are D/deaf.

A nonexperimental, correlational research design was used for this study. The survey was completed by 65 mental health professionals. Pearson product moment correlations were used to determine the relationship between attitudes and knowledge of D/deaf cultural competency. No significant correlations were obtained, indicating that knowledge was not related to mental health professionals’ attitudes toward the deaf. Mental health professionals’ beliefs about the capabilities of individuals who were D/deaf was also not significantly related to attitudes about the capabilities of individuals who were D/deaf. Relevant demographic variables were used in separate stepwise multiple linear regression analyses, with knowledge, beliefs, and the prediction of attitudes towards individuals who were D/deaf used as the dependent variables. When knowledge was entered as the dependent variable, three independent variables entered the stepwise linear regression equation. The findings indicated that knowledge was related to specialized training and that most mental health professionals lacked adequate academic curricula preparation. Statistically significant relationships were also obtained on demographic variables related to ethnicity and professional discipline. Professionals who identified their discipline as community counseling reported lower scores on cultural knowledge. Recommendations for future research were offered.