Date of Award

Summer 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Psychology and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Donna Thomas


Omvig (2002) stated that adjustment to blindness means that a blind individual views his or her blindness as a characteristic that may be inconvenient at times, but "does not define the entire person" (p. 31). This belief provides the philosophical foundation for and supports the training model in intensive and comprehensive training centers for blind individuals. The training curriculum is believed to foster adjustment to blindness and acceptance of self by creating an environment in which essential lifestyle skills improve, independence is achieved, and positive changes occur in psychological factors such as depression, self-esteem, and self-efficacy.

In the current study, 36 participants comprised the training group, and they were recruited as they entered 6 intensive and comprehensive training centers in the United States. The non-training group was comprised of 46 blind individuals, none of whom had previously attended an adult residential training program. Participants in both groups completed a pre-test survey which included demographic questions, the Iowa Independence Scale, the Nottingham Adjustment Scale, and the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale. Each participant completed a post-test survey which included the same measures following an eight-month interval corresponding to the length of training at training centers.

As predicted, scores on all three measures significantly increased from pre- to post-test for the training group, but not for the non-training group. These results confirmed that intensive and comprehensive training had a positive effect on blind individuals' skills necessary for an independent and productive lifestyle and on their adjustment to blindness and to their self-esteem. At post-test there were no significant differences between the training and non-training groups on any of the three outcome measures. The prediction that training group scores would exceed the non-training group's scores at post-test, therefore, was not met.

An unexpected finding from the study was the significantly higher pre-test scores for the non-training group than for the training group participants on all outcome measures. Factors contributing to these pre-test differences are discussed. It is believed that outside social support, particularly the support received through membership in a national consumer organization (e.g., NEB and ACB), was one of the major contributing factors.