Psychologica and social adjustment to blindness: Understanding from two groups of blind people in Ilorin, Nigeria
Background: Blindness can cause psychosocial distress leading to maladjustment if not mitigated. Maladjustment is a secondary burden that further reduces quality of life of the blind. Adjustment is often personalized and depends on nature and quality of prevailing psychosocial support and rehabilitation opportunities. This study was aimed at identifying the pattern of psychosocial adjustment in a group of relatively secluded and under-reached totally blind people in Ilorin, thus sensitizing eye doctors to psychosocial morbidity and care in the blind. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive study using 20-item Self-Reporting Questionnaire (SRQ) and a pro forma designed by the authors to assess the psychosocial problems and risk factors in some blind people in Ilorin metropolis. Result: The study revealed that most of the blind people were reasonably adjusted in key areas of social interaction, marriage, and family. Majority were considered to be poorly adjusted in the areas of education, vocational training, employment, and mobility. Many were also considered to be psychologically maladjusted based on the high rate of probable psychological disorder of 51%, as determined by SRQ. Factors identified as risk factors of probable psychological disorder were poor educational background and the presence of another medical disorder. Conclusion: Most of the blind had no access to formal education or rehabilitation system, which may have contributed to their maladjustment in the domains identified. Although their prevailing psychosocial situation would have been better prevented yet, real opportunity still exists to help this group of people in the area of social and physical rehabilitation, meeting medical needs, preventive psychiatry, preventive ophthalmology, and community health. This will require the joint efforts of medical community, government and nongovernment organizations to provide the framework for delivery of these services directly to the communities.