April 2009
Volume 50, Issue 13
ARVO Annual Meeting Abstract  |   April 2009
Differences Among Ethno-Cultural Groups When Coping with Low Vision
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • O. Overbury
    School of Optometry, University of Montreal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • D. H. Watanabe
    Psychology, Concordia University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • W. Wittich
    Neurology & Neurosurgery - Neuroscience,
    McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
  • Footnotes
    Commercial Relationships  O. Overbury, None; D.H. Watanabe, None; W. Wittich, None.
  • Footnotes
    Support  Reseau Vision, MAB & INLB Partnership
Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science April 2009, Vol.50, 4716. doi:
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      O. Overbury, D. H. Watanabe, W. Wittich; Differences Among Ethno-Cultural Groups When Coping with Low Vision. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2009;50(13):4716.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Purpose: : Barriers to low vision rehabilitation services can be multi-factorial. One such factor may be the ethno-cultural background of patients and their approach to heath care. Little is known whether cultural factors such as mother tongue, country of birth, and language proficiency influences awareness and/or utilization of rehabilitation services. In addition, coping strategies (including the choice to access rehabilitation) may differ among individuals affected with low vision based on their heritage culture. The present study investigated whether differences exist in awareness and coping strategies among groups of various ethno-cultural backgrounds.

Methods: : Data from 516 participants in the Montreal Barriers study data base were included in the analysis. Five ethno-cultural groups (English-Canadian, French-Canadian, European, Middle-Eastern/North African, Afro-Caribbean) were defined by proxy through their mother tongue and ethnic background. Coping strategies were measured using the 14 subscales of the Brief COPE.

Results: : Chi squared analysis indicated that awareness and/or utilization of services was proportionally equal across the five cultural groups. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed that the responses on the substance use, use of emotional support, positive reframing, acceptance and religion subscales differed among the groups. Afro-Caribbeans were more likely to report the use of substances (p < .04) and relied more heavily on religion (p < .05) as coping mechanisms. French-Canadians were more likely to demonstrate positive reframing (p < .05); however, they were lower in emotional support (p < .001) and acceptance (p < .001) when compared to their English-Canadian and European counterparts.

Conclusions: : Given the multicultural nature of Canadian society, comprising mainstream English and French cultures as well an ever increasing immigrant population, the data indicate that the cultural background of patients did not influence their awareness and/or utilization of low vision rehabilitation services which, in turn, indicates no apparent bias in referral or information access. The differences in coping strategies with low vision could potentially be of importance for service providers who aim to personalize the rehabilitation process towards best possible outcome for patients of various ethno-cultural backgrounds.

Keywords: low vision • quality of life • aging 

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