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Association of vision problems with psychosocial factors among middle-aged and older individuals: findings from a nationally representative study.

Authors
  • Hajek, André1
  • Wolfram, Christian2
  • Spitzer, Martin2
  • König, Hans-Helmut1
  • 1 Department of Health Economics and Health Services Research, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. , (Germany)
  • 2 Department of Ophthalmology, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany. , (Germany)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Aging & Mental Health
Publisher
Informa UK (Taylor & Francis)
Publication Date
May 01, 2021
Volume
25
Issue
5
Pages
946–953
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1080/13607863.2020.1725806
PMID: 32054296
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Objectives: Little is known about the specific association of vision loss and psychosocial outcome measures in contrast to other health limitations. The aim of this study was to identify whether vision problems are associated with psychosocial outcomes among middle-aged and older adults and to compare it with the association between other chronic health conditions and psychosocial factors.Method: Cross-sectional data came from wave 5 (2014) of the German Ageing Survey which is a representative sample of non-institutionalized individuals ≥ 40 years in Germany. Psychosocial outcomes (life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect, depressive symptoms, optimism, general self-esteem, and social isolation) were assessed using well-established and widely used scales. Self-rated trouble reading the newspaper due to vision problems and self-rated difficulties recognizing known people on the street due to vision problems were used as independent variables of interest.Results: Regressions showed that both 'vision problems: reading the newspaper' and 'vision problems: difficulties recognizing people' are consistently associated with worse psychosocial outcomes (decreased life satisfaction, decreased positive affect, increased negative affect, increased depressive symptoms, decreased optimism, decreased self-esteem and increased social isolation). In contrast, none of the physical illnesses was consistently associated with all psychosocial outcome measures.Conclusion: Adjusting for various potential confounders and in contrast to various chronic diseases, our findings emphasize an association between vision problems and worse psychosocial outcomes in middle-aged and older adults. Future longitudinal studies are needed to validate our findings.

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