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Major Depression in Individuals with Visual Impairment, Associations with Characteristics of Vision Loss, and Relation to Life Satisfaction

27 Pages Posted: 28 Jan 2019

See all articles by Audun Brunes

Audun Brunes

University of Oslo - Section for Trauma, Catastrophes and Forced Migration - Adults and Elderly

Trond Heir

University of Oslo - Section for Trauma, Catastrophes and Forced Migration - Adults and Elderly; University of Oslo - Institute of Clinical Medicine

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Abstract

Background: A predominant focus on middle-aged or elderly has limited most studies of depression in adults with visual impairment (VI). In this cohort of individuals with VI across a broad age spectrum, we aimed to estimate the prevalence of and factors associated with major depression in adults with VI, and to examine its association with life satisfaction.  

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional interview study of 736 adults with VI who were members of the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted. The members were randomly sampled across four different age strata (years: 18–35, 36–50, 51–65, ≥ 66). Structured telephone interviews were completed in the period between January and May, 2017, collecting data on characteristics of visual impairment, major depression (Patient Health Questionnaire), and life satisfaction (Cantril’s Ladder of Life Satisfaction).

Findings: The point prevalence of major depression in different age strata varied between 3.7– 15.8% in women and 2.4–12.9% in men. The estimates were highest in those aged 36–50 years. After controlling for age, gender, and education, major depression was associated with VI occurring quite recently (prevalence ratio (PR): 2.35), having additional impairments (PR: 2.13), and acquired vision loss during adulthood (PR: 2.36). Those who were depressed had lower life satisfaction than those without depression (Adjusted β = −2.40, 95% CI: −2.90, −1.90).

Interpretation: High rates of major depression in young and middle-aged adults with VI suggest a need for mental health care professionals with specific expertise on challenges in being visually impaired.

Funding Statement: Grants from the European Commission, Directorate - General Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (Grant no. ECHO/SUB/2015/718665/PREP17) and from the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted.

Declaration of Interests: The authors state: "None declared."

Ethics Approval Statement: The study was carried out anonymously and, at request, the Regional Committee for Medical and Health Research Ethics required no further formal ethical approval (Reference number: 2016/1615A). All participants provided informed consent for taking part in the study. Study participation was voluntary, and the participants were informed that they could withdraw from the study at any time.

Keywords: blindness; life satisfaction; major depression; visual impairment; vision loss

Suggested Citation

Brunes, Audun and Heir, Trond, Major Depression in Individuals with Visual Impairment, Associations with Characteristics of Vision Loss, and Relation to Life Satisfaction (January 24, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3323116

Audun Brunes (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Section for Trauma, Catastrophes and Forced Migration - Adults and Elderly ( email )

Oslo
Norway

Trond Heir

University of Oslo - Section for Trauma, Catastrophes and Forced Migration - Adults and Elderly ( email )

Oslo
Norway

University of Oslo - Institute of Clinical Medicine ( email )

Oslo
Norway

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