Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Social Sciences in the 21st Century
Correlation between Visually Impaired Persons Emotional Distress and Frequency in Independent Everyday Mobility and Attitudes towards Epidemiological Guidelines in Mobility
Valentina Mašić Fabac, Dominik Sikirić
The purpose of this article was to determine the connection between emotional distress of visually impaired persons in Croatia during the first 2020 lockdown in April due to COVID-19 and certain aspects of mobility. 43 participants completed the questionnaire in May 2020 containing demographic questions and 28 questions on a 5-point Likert scale describing emotional distress, independence in everyday mobility behaviour through frequencies in shopping for groceries and medication, and attitudes toward safety and epidemiological guidelines in mobility of visually impaired. Cronbach’s Alpha’s coefficient (α=0.906) was calculated for the 10 variable emotional distress scale. Spearman’s correlation coefficient was used to test statistically significant correlation (p<0.05) in frequencies of independent mobility and attitudes to emotional distress. The results showed statistically significant correlation 0.3< r <0.58 (medium to large) for 12 out of 18 tested variables. Higher emotional distress correlated with less independent mobility behaviours (shopping for groceries and visits pharmacy alone or with family members or neighbours, taking walks) and higher use of the sighted guide services provided by the civil organizations in Croatia. Higher emotional distress correlated with higher perception of unsuccessful epidemiological guidelines implementation and safety from COVID-19. The results indicate the increased need for sighted guide support services in pandemic circumstances that should not be dependent on epidemiologic guidelines, and possible further negative implications of prolonged lowered independence of visually impaired persons after the pandemic.
keywords: blindness; COVID-19 impact; low vision; orientation and mobility; pandemic preventive measures.