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Monique Leys, Priyanka Jain, Merideth Smith, G. Jamie Miller, Kenneth Mitchell, J Odom; Effect of Visual Function on Giving and Receiving Help in an Older Adult Population. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2013;54(15):1527.
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To determine the relationship of measures of visual function and reported giving and receiving help in an older adult population.
100 persons participated in a telephone interview to determine the relationship of volunteering or giving help, and help received on depression and suicidal ideation in the elderly. The specific measures of giving help were responses to the questionnaires Volunteering (V) and Informal Support Provided (ISP); measures of help received were Perception of Support Received (PSR) and Informal Support Received (ISR). ISR had several subscales Tangible Support (ISR-T), Instrumental Support (ISR-I), Emotional Support (ISR-E) and Total (ISR-TOT). Patients were aged 60 years or more (mean: 73.48 years; range 60-94) and passed standard cognitive tests to rule out dementia. 55 were female and 45 were male. Participants were patients at the WVU Eye Institute whose vision ranged from normal to severe visual impairment. A chart review determined the visual acuities, ocular disease, duration of disease, and visual fields. Visual acuities of the better and worse seeing eyes (VA-B and VA-W) were converted to LogMAR values. The visual field (VF) information in the charts was converted to a 4-point rating scale of binocular field loss severity. Disease duration (DD) was expressed in years. Using correlation analyses and stepwise regression, we determined which of the independent variables (IV) predicted reports of giving or receiving help.
Stepwise regression indicated a significant relationship of visual variables to V (p < 0.00126; Multiple R-squared = 0.15 with VA-B, VF, and DD as the significant IVs), to PSR (p<0.00052; Multiple R-squared = 0.17 with VA-B, VA-W and VF as the IVs), and ISR-T (p < 0.000697; Multiple R-squared = 0.14 with VA-B and DD as the IVs). Measured visual functions did not predict ISP, ISR-I, ISR-E and ISR-TOT significantly.
Our data provide additional support for the importance of visual function as an influence on the prosocial behavior of older adults. Better visual function is associated with more volunteering, but influence the informal support that older adults provide others. Poorer visual function is associated with the receipt of tangible assistance, but does not influence receipt of other informal assistance.
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