THE EFFECTS OF CONGENITAL BLINDNESS ON ADULT ADJUSTMENT (PERSONALITY, EGO, SOCIAL)
GAMBACORTA, ATTILIO THOMAS
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The relationship between ego functioning and social adjustment was investigated in a sample of 124 (61 males and 63 females) congenitally visually impaired adults, using the Joffe and Naditch (1977) ego processes scales based on the Haan (1977) model of ego functioning, and a six-factor social adjustment scale which was derived from the Zigler-Phillips (1960) premorbid social competence scale. Four of the five factors of the Zigler-Phillips scale were modified in order to better reflect the unique social situation of the congenitally visually impaired. A sixth factor, autonomy, was added to yield a six-factor social adjustment scale. Although this new social adjustment scale was found to be a good differentiator of ego functioning in the visually impaired males and females, the internal consistency of the scale was higher when measuring male adjustment than when female adjustment was assessed. High and low scores on the social adjustment scale significantly magnified the differentiating power of the social adjustment scale for females, whereas only a slight improvement was observed in the ability of the scale to differentiate ego functioning in males.;Contrary to the hypothesized impairing effects of total blindness from birth on ego functioning and social adjustment, a one-way analysis of variance produced no differences in ego functioning and social adjustment between subjects grouped according to onset of total blindness. In addition, no differences in ego functioning and social adjustment were found between subjects grouped according to level of visual functioning.;Two patterns of ego processes were found to be related to social adjustment for visually impaired males and two for visually impaired females; one pattern related to low adjustment and the other related to high adjustment in both sexes. As hypothesized, coping was generally related to high adjustment, while defense was generally related to low adjustment. As hypothesized, core patterns of defense processes, one for visually impaired males and one for visually impaired females, were related to low adjustment. The pattern of ego processes found to be related to high adjustment in visually impaired females included the cognitive coping sector of the Haan model of ego functioning. For visually impaired males, the high adjustment pattern included the coping processes of concentration, substitution, and suppression.