The effect of rehabilitation on depression among visually disabled older adults

Aging Ment Health. 2005 Nov;9(6):563-70. doi: 10.1080/13607860500193500.


There has been a great deal of interest in identifying the impact of rehabilitation on psychological well-being, as well as functional ability, among elders with disabilities, but empirical data remain limited. This descriptive study of participants in vision rehabilitation service examines the effect of specific vision rehabilitation services (low vision clinical services, skills training, counseling, optical device use, and adaptive device use) on change in depression among a sample of older adults with age-related vision impairments. Participants (N = 95) were interviewed at application for services and then approximately two years later. Findings from hierarchical regression analyses indicated that low vision clinical services, counseling, and use of optical devices, in separate models, each significantly contributed to a decline in depression, after controlling for age, health status, vision status, functional disability, as well as baseline depression. When all service variables were entered into the same equation, they explained an additional 10% of the variance in change in depression. Given the well documented robust relationship between disability and depression, findings point to the influence of vision rehabilitation interventions on both physical and psychological functioning, and underscore the need for future, controlled research on rehabilitation service models that address mental health issues.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Vision, Low / psychology
  • Vision, Low / rehabilitation
  • Visually Impaired Persons / psychology*
  • Visually Impaired Persons / rehabilitation*