BREAKING BARRIERS: UNVEILING THE MENTAL HEALTH CHALLENGES OF STUDENTS WITH VISUAL IMPAIRMENT IN PAKISTAN

Main Article Content

Tehmeena Hanif
Dr. Iram Gul

Keywords

Mental health, Challenges, Students, Visual Impairment

Abstract

Objective: Students with visual impairment face unique challenges that can have a substantial impact on their mental health. There has been limited research addressing the mental health challenges of this population in Pakistan. Therefore, the aim of the current study was to address this gap by specifically identifying psychological distress, as well as emotional and behavioural problems, among students with visual impairment. 


Methodology: In this study purposive sampling technique was used to collect data. Present study included a sample of (N=100) consisting of (n=52) males and (n=48) females who were students with visual impairment. The age range of participants was from 13 to 17 years. Standardized scales were used to assess the mental health outcomes. The Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS-21) was employed to measure the participants' level of psychological distress. Additionally, emotional and behavioural problems of these students were evaluated by using the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ). Data was collected in one-on-one sessions by orally administering the questionnaires. 


Results: The results indicated that there was positive correlation between psychological distress (i.e. Depression, Anxiety, and Stress) and emotional and behavioural problems (i.e. emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, and peer relationship problems). However, prosocial behaviour showed negative correlation with psychological distress as well as with emotional and behavioural problems. Results also revealed that subscales of DASS-21 collectively explained variance in predicting emotional symptoms, conduct problems, hyperactivity/inattention, and peer relationship problems. However, depression negatively predicted prosocial behavior among students with visual impairment. Moreover, t-test revealed that females showed high level of psychological distress t(98) = -2.06, p<.05) as well as emotional and behavioural problems t(98) = -2.36, p<.05) compared to male students with visual impairment. 


Conclusion: The results of current study highlighted the vital need for focused interventions aimed at improving the psychological health of students with visual impairment in order to reduce the likelihood of psychological distress as well as the emotional and behavioural problems. Understanding the ramifications of these findings can help educators, counselors, and legislators create more effective plans to promote the overall well-being of students with visual impairment in Pakistan.

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