Change in psychological problems of adolescents with and without visual impairment.


The present study analyzed change in psychological problems of German adolescents with and without visual impairment across a 2-year interval. A total of 182 adolescents with severe visual impairment and 560 sighted adolescents provided longitudinal data. At the start of the study, adolescents with visual impairment had, on average, elevated scores on all difficulties scales of the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) (Goodman R, J Child Psychol Psychiat 38:581-586), 1997 and about 39 % of them scored in the abnormal range of one or more scales as compared to 30.5 % of their sighted peers (p < 0.05). However, between-group differences of emotional and total problems declined over time. While adolescents who are blind and those who have low vision had similar levels of psychological problems, SDQ scores showed less improvement in adolescents with an earlier age at onset of vision loss. In conclusion, a minority of adolescents with visual impairment and with early onset of visual impairment in particular, may benefit from psychological interventions aimed at preventing and reducing psychological problems and increasing the ability to cope with stressors associated with vision loss.