Psychosocial well-being among Vietnamese adolescents with visual and physical disabilities

Author: Phuong Thi Thu Dinh

Dinh , Phuong Thi Thu, 2018 Psychosocial well-being among Vietnamese adolescents with visual and physical disabilities, Flinders University, School of Psychology

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The psychological and social well-being of young people with disabilities has been addressed in many studies. However, little attention has been given to young people with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries (LAMICs). Disability is over-represented in such countries, especially in those with a legacy of war. This program of research is the first to study psychosocial well-being of the large number of young people with visual and physical disabilities in the variety of settings in which they are cared for Vietnam. It consists of three studies. Study 1 used longitudinal case studies to describe the developmental context and developmental outcomes of twelve Vietnamese children with visual and physical disabilities who were followed from infancy to pre-adolescence. Results were interpreted with reference to a large sample of their non-disabled peers. The results showed that both children with visual and physical disabilities experienced extreme material deprivation, and that most participants had smaller vocabularies, poorer physical development and lower well-being than most of their nondisabled peers. This study provided the context for Study 2, a cross-sectional quantitative study of the level and predictors of psychosocial well-being among Vietnamese adolescents with visual and physical disabilities. Although adolescents with these disabilities experienced moderate levels of well-being in several positive domains, including satisfaction with life, flourishing and positive affect, they also experienced very high levels of symptoms of anxiety and depression. Optimism, social support and discrimination were independent predictors of a large number of positive and negative domains of well-being, and discriminated between clusters of adolescents who showed different patterns of wellbeing. In the final study, in-depth interviews with a subset of the participants in Study 2 captured their perceptions about the factors that influenced their well-being in their own words. They identified challenges to their well-being, the types of support they needed to overcome these challenges, and the qualitative characteristics of service providers that influenced their well-being. Based on these responses, a model was developed to guide the development and revision of support services. Despite its limitations, this program of research provides some of the data necessary to make the first steps towards evidence-based practice in the provision of support services for Vietnamese adolescents with a visual or physical disability.

Keywords: Well-being, adolescents, visual disability, physical disability, Vietnam

Subject: Psychology thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2018
School: School of Psychology
Supervisor: Julie Robinson