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Health psychology: A portfolio of work and practice including: addiction; stigma and quality of life; and, visual impairment

Mahy, Timothy J. (2015). Health psychology: A portfolio of work and practice including: addiction; stigma and quality of life; and, visual impairment. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University London)


Introduction: It has been demonstrated that people with a visual impairment report a lower quality of life (QoL) than those who are normally sighted. Researchers have shown that in conditions such as cancer, HIV, and mental illness, experienced and anticipated stigma and discrimination can relate to lower QoL scores (e.g. Brown Johnson, Brodsky, & Cataldo, 2014; Liu, Xu, Lin. Shi. & Chen, 2013; Tang & Wu, 2012; Yen, Chen, Lee. Tang, Ko, et al., 2009). There is a paucity of literature, however, exploring this phenomenon within the field of visual impairment. The aim of this study was to explore whether a relationship exists between stigma and discrimination, and the QoL of visually impaired people.

Methods: This mixed-methods study was split into two sections. Both sections included the use of the DISC-VI, QUAD-VI, and WHOQOL-BREF scales to measure stigma and discrimination, and QoL, respectively. Fifty-three participants were recruited for the first part of this study, responding to the above scales plus two qualitative questions. A total of one hundred and seventy two participants were included in part two, where only the above scales were included. Qualitative data was analysed using inductive thematic analysis. Scales were assessed using psychometric analyses. Quantitative data was analysed using Pearson’s correlations and multiple regressions.

Results: The hypothesis that there would be a significant negative relationship between stigma, discrimination and QoL was confirmed. The strongest relationships being between anticipated stigma and all domains of QoL. The scales were found to be psychometrically valid for this sample, although the DISC-VI’s subscales were not used due to insufficient confidence about their validity in this sample. Qualitative findings show that the visually impaired face many challenges in life: avoidance, abuse, and challenges when accessing health care providers.

Conclusion: The impact of stigma and discrimination on the visually impaired person’s QoL are an area that deserves further attention as it has been ignored for too long. Limitations of this study should be considered in interpreting the findings

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses > School of Arts and Social Sciences Doctoral Theses
Text - Accepted Version
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