Comparison of Perceptual Reasoning Skills and Mental Health Problems between Deaf and Normal-Hearing Adolescents in a Semi-inclusive setting in Ibadan, Nigeria
Background: Adolescents with hearing loss are often faced with poor cognitive and executive functions, and increased prevalence of mental health problems. The study compared the perceptual reasoning skills (PRI) and mental health problems of deaf adolescents with those of their age- and sex- matched hearing counterparts.
Methods: It was a comparative cross-sectional study of a total population (102) of deaf adolescents, who were matched for age and sex with 102 normal hearing adolescents. The PRI of the participants was assessed using the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Fourth Edition (WISC-IV). Mental health problems were assessed with the parents’ and teachers’ versions of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Descriptive statistics, chi square test and correlation co-efficient were done. Significant level was set at p-value < 5%.
Results: The PRI scores ranged from 41-106 across both groups; 58.8 % of the deaf and 41.2% of the hearing adolescents scored 69 and below on the WISC and this difference was statistically significant (p = 0.033). The PRI scores had no significant relationship with the audiometric scores of the deaf participants (r = -0.177; p = 0.076). The PRI scores in the deaf participants were inversely related to hyperactivity assessed by the teacher (r = -0.354), emotional difficulty assessed by both teachers (r = -0.221) and parents (r = -0.280) and peer problems assessed by the teachers (r = -0.329).
Conclusion: Deaf participants in this study showed significantly lower level of nonverbal IQ and higher level of behavioural difficulties compared with their hearing counterparts.