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Clin Rehabil. 2008 Sep;22(9):816-24. doi: 10.1177/0269215508091435.

Staying connected: re-establishing social relationships following vision loss.

Author information

1
University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA. shuwenwang@ucla.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To examine the nature of relationship-related challenges experienced by adults with vision impairment, as well as the strategies employed to deal with them.

DESIGN:

Cross-sectional qualitative study.

SETTING:

Vision rehabilitation agency.

SUBJECTS:

Fifty-eight young, middle-aged and older adults with vision impairment.

METHOD:

Telephone and in-person interviews included an open-ended question about how having a vision impairment has changed relationships. Interviews were coded using a qualitative analytical approach.

RESULTS:

Participants' responses fell into two categories: difficulty in social situations was due either to other people's lack of understanding and/or one's own lack of visual cues. Responses were either to readjust one's behaviour to maintain relationships or to let relationships go or turn sour. Within these two directions, participants reported specific strategies. For readjusting one's behaviour, participants mentioned explaining themselves more and being more assertive, relying on other senses for information, 'faking' it through interactions, and being more selective about who they interacted with. For letting relationships go, participants reported either withdrawing and making fewer initiatives to socialize, or getting angry and telling people off.

CONCLUSIONS:

Study findings suggest that re-establishing relationships following vision loss is a multifaceted experience in which individuals employ different strategies. These need to be further researched, given their importance to individuals dealing with vision impairment.

PMID:
18728135
DOI:
10.1177/0269215508091435
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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