+44 1223 790975
Vrije Universiteit Amstverdam, Netherlands
Posters & Accepted Abstracts: J Clin Exp Ophthalmol
Social participation is challenging for people with visual impairments (VI). However, itâ�?�?s important to realize that social participation is an interplay between person and environment; between possibilities and obstacles. In order to improve social participation of persons with VI, itâ�?�?s necessary to chart the current state of their social participation. Data of an accelerated longitudinal national research project in Netherlands of adolescents and young adults with VI were analyzed to: Give a description of the extent of participation in leisure activities, social relations and education/ employment; the interrelationship between the participation areas and psychosocial functioning; and to trace successful and non-successful pathways toward social participation. Adolescents and young adults with VI were interviewed in three waves, using a computer assisted telephone interview (CATI): 1996 (Cohort 1: N=316), 2005 (Cohort 1: N=205, Cohort 2: N=154) and 2010 (Cohort 1: N=179, Cohort 2: N=112). Participation in leisure activities was measured using openended questions and degree of peer activity; in relationships using questionnaires and open-ended questions about social networks, social support, social competences, dating experiences, marital status and starting a family; in education/work using open-ended questions about degree and kind of education, paid and voluntary jobs. Furthermore, psychosocial functioning was measured using questionnaires on self-esteem, perceived stigmatization, wellbeing, loneliness and acceptance of impairment. Data were analyzed using correlational analyses and regression models. Results so far showed that most young people with VI in this study find their way in education and work. On the area of leisure activities and relationships there are problems concerning dating, network size, sexual experiences, mobility and amount of peer-activities. These problems are negatively related to psychosocial characteristics like selfesteem, acceptance of impairment and loneliness. Social participation seems to be an interplay between personal and environmental characteristics and needs to be learned by trial and error.