Turkish Journal of Psychiatry 2011
Depression and anxiety levels and self-concept characteristics of adolescents with congenital complete visual impairment • Nurullah BOLAT1, Burak DOĞANGÜN2, Mesut YAVUZ3, Türkay DEMİR4, Levent KAYAALP5
SUMMARY Objective: Previous studies have reported that visual impairment can affect the mental health of children and adolescents. The aim of this study is to investigate the depression and anxiety levels and the self-concept characteristics of adolescents with congenital complete visual impairment. Method: This is a cross-sectional study. 40 adolescents with congenital complete visual impairment studying in a specialized primary school for visual impairment, and 40 sighted adolescents were included in the study. Both groups were matched in terms of age, gender and socio-economic status. The mean age of the adolescents in both groups was 12.82±1.17. The Children’s Depression Inventory, Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale, Spielberger Trait Anxiety Inventory for Children and sociodemographic form were used in the study. The mean scores of the scales obtained from both groups were compared using the Mann-Whitney U test. Results: The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant either in terms of depression scores or in terms of total scores; the happiness, physical appearance, popularity, behavior and adjustment subscales scores of the Piers-Harris Children’s Self-Concept Scale. The intellectual and school-status subscale scores of the adolescents with visual impairment were significantly higher than those of the controls. Anxiety levels of the adolescents with visual impairment were significantly higher when compared with sighted adolescents. Conclusion: These results indicate that the depression levels and self-concept characteristics of adolescents with visual impairment are similar to those of sighted adolescents, whereas the anxiety levels of the adolescents with visual impairment are significantly higher than those of the sighted ones. Key Words: blindness, depression, adolescent, self concept, anxiety, comorbidity
Blindness is defined as “absence or loss of visual ability or perception of visual stimulus” (Andrews & Shirley 2005, World Health Organization 2004). Today, there is substantial data on the causes, prevalence and distribution of blindness and visual impairment (Gilbert et al. 1998). The prevalence of visual impairment among children under 16 was found to be 10-22/10000 in developed countries while the rate is 30-40/10000 in developing countries (Gilbert et al. 1998, Nyong’o & Del Monte 2008).
Relationships with peers gain importance in adolescence. Group friendships become important, the level of contact with the opposite sex increases and the development of sexual identity is completed. Cognitive capacity develops, concrete thinking is replaced by abstract thinking and the value system of the self is established. Furthermore, bodily changes occur during this period. Increases in height, weight-gain and the development of secondary sexual characteristics, together with the formation of adult sexual characteristics, occur in this period (Archibald et al. 2006). Adolescents are in the situation of learning to use newly acquired cognitive abili-
Received: 20.02.2010 - Accepted: 01.10.2010
Specialist, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Diyarbakir Hospital for Children, Diyarbakir, 2Specialist, 3Resident, 4Assoc. Prof., 5Prof., Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Cerrahpasa Medical Faculty, Istanbul, Turkey Nurullah Bolat MD., e-mail: email@example.com
ties in order to make the transition from the dependency of childhood to the autonomy of adulthood. An adolescent develops new relationship patterns with his/her family and the surrounding culture in this period (Hendren 1990). Difficulties experienced in this critical period have a significant impact on the psychology of the adolescent. The prevalence of...
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