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April 1970

Reactions to BlindnessAn Exploratory Study of Adults With Recent Loss of Sight

Author Affiliations

Bethesda, Md
From the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London. Dr. Fitzgerald is currently with LCS, Section on Psychiatry, the National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1970;22(4):370-379. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1970.01740280082015

BLINDNESS is a disability that irrevocably changes the course of a formerly sighted person's life. There have, however, been few systematic studies of the psychosocial effects of loss of sight, and none have considered in a comprehensive manner parameters such as the early psychological reaction, changes in socioeconomic status, persisting visual and other intrapsychic phenomenology, and adjustment and rehabilitation factors.

The present investigation was designed to study the reactions to loss of sight in a group of newly blinded adults of working age. For a representative sample, everyone living in a large and contiguous region of metropolitan London meeting the below criteria was selected. On the basis of a survey of the literature on reactions to blindness (see comments), discussions with interested caregivers in the blind welfare field in England, and a pilot study of verbally fluent and intelligent newly blind persons, an interview

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