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New developments in the psychosocial assessment of deaf persons

Normal Norms


12 / 1994

Brauer’s 1993 study investigated the linguistic equivalency of the American Sign Language (ASL)translation of a psychological test for use with deaf people. This test, the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI), was translated into American Sign Language via the back-translation procedure.

The results of the study demonstrated adequate linguistic equivalencies of the ASL MMPI items and underscored the potential utility and practicality of future ASL translations of psychological tests for use with deaf and hard-of-hearing people.

The present study, a replication of the 1993 study, investigated both the linguistic and conceptual equivalencies of the ASL translation of the MMPI-2. The results from analyses conducted to determine these equivalencies are very encouraging. The data showed very impressive comparability in ranking in the two versions of the MMPI-2. Moreover, preliminary results indicate that the mean profile patterns for deaf males and females are as recognizable as those for non-deaf American "typical college" males and females. Extrapolating from these results, the data suggest that the profiles of deaf and hard-of-hearing subjects is similar to the profiles of the American norms for the MMPI-2.

The essential value of this translated instrument is the normative sample. Among significant changes in MMPI-2 are the implementation of national norms more representative of the present population of the United States and modifications of items with sexist wording and outmoded content. Nonetheless,there has been, and will continue to be, a serious concern as to how comparable deaf individuals are to the general population of people who hear.

Key words

communication, diagnosis method, psychology, mental health, video

, United states, Washington


There is a paucity of research investigating the translation of psychological assessment instruments into American Sign Language. The present study was undertaken in an effort to meet the continuing need of the American minority of deaf and hard-of-hearing people for psychological assessment measures with which they can interact directly.

Psychological services must meet the need of a heterogeneity of deaf people within a variety of educational, rehabilitation, and clinical settings. As such, there are a number of reasons for translating well-established psychological measures from the original English into American Sign Language.Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are a linguistic minority. Most deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals are functionally illiterate in the English language upon graduation from high school. Many psychological measures rely heavily on proficiency in English and may penalize such individuals or render test results invalid.


GESTES Groupe d’Etude Spécialisé "Thérapies et Surdités"organised in Paris, the ESMHD European Society for Mental Health and Deafnessthird international congress, on december 1994. The publication of the proceedings will occur later on.

Written from the speech of Barbara BRAUER, psychologist, Ph D. Executive Director, CCMHC, Gallaudet University, HMB S 444 Washington D.C., 20002 USA. Phone 1(202)651.5732 Fax 1(202)651 5295


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GESTES (Groupe d’Etudes Spécialisé Thérapies et Surdité) - 8 rue Michel Peter, 75013 Paris, FRANCE. Tel/Fax 00(331)43 31 25 00 - France - gestes (@)

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