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This is me: A qualitative investigation of young people’s experience of growing up with visual impairment

This is me: A qualitative investigation of young people’s experience of growing up with visual impairment

Robertson, Alexandra, Tadic, Valerija ORCID: 0000-0003-3982-0340 and Rahi, Jugnoo (2021) This is me: A qualitative investigation of young people’s experience of growing up with visual impairment. PLoS ONE, 16 (7):e0254009. ISSN 1932-6203 (Online) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0254009)

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Abstract

Background:
Childhood visual impairment (VI) has a profound impact on many aspects of childhood and adolescence. This is well-documented in cross-sectional and/or quantitative studies utilizing self-report instruments which compare children with and without VI. Young people’s views on the experience of growing up with VI as a developmental, change-driven process remain largely unexplored.

Methods:
As part of our broader research programme on quality of life of visually impaired children and young people in the United Kingdom, in-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted between March and June 2015, with a stratified sample of 17 young people with VI, aged 16–19 years. An age-sensitive, empirically-based topic guide encouraged retrospective reflections on participants’ experiences of growing up with VI, including age-normative and vision-specific challenges.

Results:
Descriptions of growing up with VI largely centered on an overarching higher-order theme labelled becoming me. Four themes representing everyday activities, attitudes, preferences and perceptions in relation to i) social relationships, ii) independence and responsibilities, iii) the future, and iv) rising to challenges emerged and were used by participants in their description of three stages in which they developed a sense of self: i) laying the foundations, ii) testing the waters, and iii) this is me. Differences in manifestation of VI influenced how young people made sense of their experiences and their sense of self.

Conclusions:
Findings are discussed in relation to normative and vision-specific changes in psychosocial development during adolescence, including the development of identity. They highlight the need for ongoing monitoring of subjective well-being in a clinical population with a unique early life course trajectory.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Copyright: © 2021 Robertson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: visual impairment, young people, qualitative research, lived experience
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
R Medicine > RE Ophthalmology
Faculty / School / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Applied Psychology Research Group
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Department of Psychology, Social Work & Counselling
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Vulnerable Children and Families
Last Modified: 09 Sep 2021 17:42
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
Selected for GREAT 2019: None
Selected for REF2021: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/33316

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