Theses Doctoral

Age-Related Vision Loss: A Study of Adaptive Tasks

Burack-Weiss, Ann

This study, conducted in New York City in 1988, examined the performance of 86 visually impaired elders on five adaptive tasks: maintenance or restoration of self esteem, use of help, activities of daily living, social and recreational activities and understanding of loss. These adaptive tasks were chosen because they are most frequently cited in the literature of disability; arising from the fields of aging, chronic illness, and blindness. Intervening variables were health, social supports, and coexisting life events of change and loss. Respondents ranged in age from 60-99 years and had three times of onset since vision loss: 0-1 year, 2-3 years, and 4+ years. Data were collected in in-person interviews of approximately one hour's duration. Frequency distributions, bivariate correlations, and multivariate analytic techniques were used to identify the salient variables associated with performance of each adaptive task. Study findings indicate that age and time since onset do not influence performance of adaptive tasks. Dependence in activities of daily living is a predictor of low self esteem. Medical problems are a predictor of dependence in activities of daily living. Decreased participation in social and recreational activities and dependence in activities of daily living are more frequently due to vision loss than to other health problems. Both need and availability are predictors of use of help. Understanding of loss is associated with higher education, low self esteem, and living alone. Vision impairment has a great subjective importance to the elderly who give up much that has meaning to them in their struggle to adapt to diminished sight. Implications for clinical practice and further research are discussed.


More About This Work

Academic Units
Social Work
Thesis Advisors
Monk, Abraham
Jones, James
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 30, 2015