Changes in perceived loneliness of people with visual impairment between before and amid the COVID-19 pandemic

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Authors: Hyung Nam Kim
Page Range: 217-223
Published in: International Journal on Disability and Human Development, Volume 22 Issue 3
ISSN: 2191-1231

Table of Contents

Abstract

The present research aims to gain a deep understanding of the degree to which individuals with vision loss perceive loneliness, especially before and amid the COVID-19 pandemic. There is evidence that individuals with vision loss tend to suffer from loneliness; however, there is a lack of understanding about the degree which they develop loneliness amid the pandemic as compared to the pre-pandemic time. A convenience sampling method included 81 people with vision loss. The UCLA loneliness questionnaire was administered in measuring loneliness levels in fall 2019, summer 2020, and fall 2020. Participants experienced a range of loneliness (i.e., low, moderate, and high). After the pandemic was declared, significant changes in loneliness levels were observed among those who had a moderate level of loneliness. The level of loneliness increased in summer 2020 but decreased in fall 2020, i.e., returning back to the level in the pre-pandemic time. It was also observed that participants showed individual differences in loneliness, depending on sociodemographic backgrounds. The present research contributes to advancing knowledge about how people with vision loss develop loneliness since the pandemic was declared. As women with vision loss were found to be vulnerable to loneliness, adequate social supports should be offered to accommodate their needs and concerns amid the pandemic. The research findings could be helpful for many other researchers and professionals in developing interventions to reduce loneliness in people with vision loss and to promote their emotional well-being.

Keywords: UCLA loneliness scale, trajectory, emotional wellbeing, low vision, blindness

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