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Social Interactions and Friendships of adolescents with vision impairments: A scoping review
Jönköping University, School of Education and Communication, HLK, CHILD.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Background: Social exclusion of people with vision impairments is an ongoing issue. Since social inclusion emphasizes social and emotional aspects as distinct from academic ones and the aspects concerning opportunities, the focus is turned on the domain of social interactions and friendships. Adolescence is the time point when youth feels mostly the need to ‘fit in’ in social circles and groups and the social life and friendships are important aspects of young people’s well-being and development.

Aim: The aim of this study is to review the existing literature on the social interactions and friendships of adolescents with visual impairments from their own perspective and investigate the interventions designed to improve their social interactions and friendships.

Method: A literature search on the databases of ERIC, CINAHL and PsycINFO and a hand search on the reference lists of the relevant articles was conducted. The search was limited to recent peer reviewed studies published in English, reporting perspectives of adolescents (13-18 years old) with visual impairments on their social interactions and friendships and intervention studies aimed to support them in the aforementioned domain.

Results: In the 18 included studies, adolescents with vision impairments engaged more in passive activities that were not highly interactive. They reported being satisfied with their networks and friends, however contradictions existed in the perceived quality of friendships and the feeling of loneliness. The context of school was presented often as problematic compared to other contexts, and friendships in schools were rare. According to adolescents’ voices, friendships helped to cope with the impairment, friends had a meaningful role in their life and they made school life more enjoyable. In comparison to their sighted peers, adolescents with vision impairments had smaller networks and less friends with whom they had different type of relationships. Lastly even though several barriers and facilitators were identified, which belong to domains of Body functions and structures and Physical, Attitudinal and Social environment, there was a lack of interventions aiming to support the social interactions and friendships of adolescents with vision impairments.

Conclusions: Considering the importance of social interactions and friendships in adolescents’ life for them to learn, develop and enjoy, more interventions with social focus need to be designed in respect to the challenges that exist. A plethora of barriers and facilitators impacting the social interactions and friendships of adolescents with vision impairments were identified that need to be taken into consideration for future research and interventions since the existing literature provided so far is limited. Adolescents need to be engaged in this process so that their interests, preferences and their views are prioritized. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 55
Keywords [en]
social interaction, social inclusion, friendships, adolescents, vision impairment, blindness, low vision, scoping review
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hj:diva-43868ISRN: JU-HLK-SBU-2-20190066OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hj-43868DiVA, id: diva2:1319213
Subject / course
HLK, Child Studies
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-08-15 Created: 2019-05-30 Last updated: 2019-08-15Bibliographically approved

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