Impact of visual impairment on the lives of young adults in the Netherlands: a concept-mapping approach

Ellen Bernadette Maria Elsman, Gerardus Hermanus Maria Bartholomeus van Rens, Ruth Marie Antoinette van Nispen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: While the impact of visual impairments on specific aspects of young adults’ lives is well recognised, a systematic understanding of its impact on all life aspects is lacking. This study aims to provide an overview of life aspects affected by visual impairment in young adults (aged 18–25 years) using a concept-mapping approach. Method: Visually impaired young adults (n = 22) and rehabilitation professionals (n = 16) participated in online concept-mapping workshops (brainstorm procedure), to explore how having a visual impairment influences the lives of young adults. Statements were categorised based on similarity and importance. Using multidimensional scaling, concept maps were produced and interpreted. Results: A total of 59 and 260 statements were generated by young adults and professionals, respectively, resulting in 99 individual statements after checking and deduplication. The combined concept map revealed 11 clusters: work, study, information and regulations, social skills, living independently, computer, social relationships, sport and activities, mobility, leisure time, and hobby. Conclusions: The concept maps provided useful insight into activities influenced by visual impairments in young adults, which can be used by rehabilitation centres to improve their services. This might help in goal setting, rehabilitation referral and successful transition to adult life, ultimately increasing participation and quality of life. Implications for rehabilitation Having a visual impairment affects various life-aspects related to participation, including activities related to work, study, social skills and relationships, activities of daily living, leisure time and mobility. Concept-mapping helped to identify the life aspects affected by low vision, and quantify these aspects in terms of importance according to young adults and low vision rehabilitation professionals. Low vision rehabilitation centres should focus on all life aspects found in this study when identifying the needs of young adults, as this might aid goal setting and rehabilitation referral, ultimately leading to more successful transitions, better participation and quality of life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2607-2618
Number of pages12
JournalDisability and rehabilitation
Issue number26
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2017


  • Visual impairment
  • concept-mapping
  • participation
  • quality of life
  • rehabilitation
  • young adults

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