Date of Award

January 2018

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Christine Privott

Second Advisor

MaryEllen Thompson

Third Advisor

Julie Baltisberger


The primary objective of the study was to examine how deaf culture impacts an individual's experience in accessing healthcare. Research conducted by Montoya et al. (2004) found that the adult deaf population is severely underserved in the healthcare system. Sheppard and Badger (2010) found that it is important to also consider the deaf culture when evaluating a deaf patient. For this research, the Deaf community and culture will be explored to determine Deaf individuals' experiences in healthcare. This study is a cross-language qualitative approach using narrative description to describe Deaf individuals' and their experiences accessing healthcare. Data analysis was conducted with basic descriptive statistics and qualitative coding and thematic analysis. The researcher found that an individual's experience is strongly influenced by their access to interpreters and the healthcare professional's willingness to follow their preferred method of communication. The results will provide insight into the Deaf culture and their experiences in the healthcare system.