Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

The Relationship of Perceived Social Support with Well-Being in Adults with Visual Impairments

Academic journal article Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness

The Relationship of Perceived Social Support with Well-Being in Adults with Visual Impairments

Article excerpt

Abstract: The relationship between perceived social support and multiple indicators of well-being in adults with visual impairments was investigated. The results included significant correlation of social support and depressive symptoms, satisfaction with life, as well as with physical, psychological, economic, family, and social well-being. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.

**********

Quality of life is "an overarching psychosocial outcome in rehabilitation practice" (Livneh, 2001, p. 154), and over the past three decades it has been consistently recognized as one of the most important outcomes related to the provision of disability services (Bishop, Chapin, & Miller, 2008). The World Health Organization (WHO) defined quality of life as "individuals' perceptions of their position in life in the context of the culture and value systems in which they live and in relation to their goals, expectations, standards, and concerns" (WHOQOL Group, 1995, p. 1405). The measurement of quality of life can help to determine factors that have the most positive influence on the lives of people with visual impairments and that may be addressed in educational and rehabilitation interventions.

Quality of life can be evaluated through subjective or objective means or both (Cummins, 2005). In disability and rehabilitation research, objective measures of quality of life have traditionally been used (Bishop et al., 2008). Objective measures of quality of life include physical or material indicators, such as marital status, employment status, and physical functioning (Bishop, Smedema, & Lee, 2009). Research has found that when quality of life is measured objectively, individuals with disabilities have a lower quality of life than do people without disabilities (Dijkers, 1997). However, considering that people with disabilities have much lower rates of employment, education, and income than do people without disabilities, this discrepancy makes sense.

Subjective quality of life, on the other hand, is evaluated by measuring an individual's feelings about his or her life situation, both as a whole and within different life domains (including social support and the individual's employment situation; Roessler, 1990). Subjective measures of quality of life include a sense of well-being, depressive symptoms, and satisfaction with life. When quality of life was measured in individuals with disabilities using subjective measures, a lower level of quality of life was not found compared to individuals without disabilities (Bishop, 2005).

Measures of quality of life in adults with visual impairments

Measures of quality of life, specifically social support, well-being, depressive symptoms, and satisfaction with life, have been topics of prior research in the field of visual impairments. Overprotection of adults with visual impairments has been investigated as a negative form of social support in relation to depressive symptoms and the ability to adapt to age-related vision loss. Higher levels of overprotection result in a higher occurrence of anxiety and depressive symptoms in adults with visual impairments; perceived social support can be a predictor of depressive symptoms (Cimarolli, 2006). In relation to adaptation to age-related vision loss, Cimarolli, Reinhardt, and Horowitz (2006) found that although perceived overprotection leads to negative psychosocial outcomes, such as increased depressive symptoms, it also "influences positive outcomes such as one's sense of mastery and the ability to cope with an age related ... decline in vision" (p. S21). Overall, however, greater levels of perceived overprotection of adults with visual impairments have had negative effects on adaptation to age-related vision loss.

The differences in social support and overprotection in adults with visual impairments who were employed and unemployed have been documented and provide important implications for the field. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.