Socio-psychological adaptation of adolescents with visual impairment in group of peers influenced by team sports

Фотографии: 

PhD D.V. Savchenko
Associate Professor, Dr.Sc.Psych. O.I. Mironova
Associate Professor, PhD E.G. Babich
Associate Professor, PhD V.A. Morozov
Russian State Social University, Moscow

Keywords: socio-psychological adaptation, adolescents with visual impairment, team sports, goalball, adaptive capability.

Introduction. They started to work on the issue of social adaptation of people with visual impairment as early as in the XVIII century, but it is only nowadays that it is getting most relevant. Thus, about 285 million people all over the world suffer from visual impairment, 19 million of them are children aged up to 15 years. Rehabilitation measures are required for 1.4 million totally blind children to help them develop psychologically and personally [8].

Adolescence is the age that claims deliberate attention from psychologists and scientists. The signs of visual impairment are most pronounced in adolescents, affecting both their physical and psychological states, which inevitably promotes their permanent socio-psychological disadaptation [1; 4; 8; 10].

According to the majority of domestic and foreign psychologists, for successful socio-psychological adaptation adolescents need to develop corresponding adaptive capabilities [5; 7; 9]. That is why, in order to create the best living conditions, regain lost contact with the outside world, provide socio-psychological adaptation and integration of individuals with visual impairment into society, specialized training programs must be used [2; 7; 10]. We assume that such programs may also include the potential of sport, particularly, the potential of sport (team) games [5; 7; 9].

Sport (team) games have a beneficial healthcare effect, influencing the psychological climate in the group of the disabled, providing the optimization of their socio-psychological adaptation in the environment [3; 4; 6; 8].

In this view, to study the problems of socio-psychological adaptation of adolescents with visual impairment in the group of peers through the potentialities of sport, we chose a team, sport game - goalball, designed specifically for people with visual impairment. Goalball is football for blind and visually impaired athletes. The game evokes a parallel with the actions performed by a goalkeeper in ordinary football, when he, having sprawled, keeps the ball from driving into the net using his hands, feet and other body parts. The game takes place in absolute silence, because athletes orient themselves by ear [3; 9].

Objective of the research was to study the characteristics of socio-psychological adaptation of visually impaired adolescents among their peers using techniques and methods of team sports.

Methods and structure of the research. Subject to study were 88 visually impaired adolescents of 13 to 15 years of age, pupils of the boarding school № 1 for Training and Rehabilitation of the Blind of the Labour and Social Protection Department in Moscow. To study the characteristics of socio-psychological adaptation of visually impaired adolescents among their peers the following research methods were applied: the Social and Psychological Adaptation Questionnaire (C. Rogers and R. Diamond); the state-trait anxiety inventory (Hanin & Spielberger); the well-being, activity and mood (WAM) tests; the Wasserman's test "Diagnostics of the level of social frustration" (LSF). The above mentioned research methods were applied before and after the program.

As first of all we wanted to study socio-psychological adaptation of adolescents with visual impairment, we arranged the participants in the study groups based on the first assessment, namely, the total number of subjects were divided into two study groups (SG). Thus, the SG-1 was made of the visually impaired adolescents with congenital visual deficiency diagnosed with the low and average levels of adaptation, whereas the SG-2 included adolescents with acquired visual deficiency, who had also demonstrated the low and average levels of adaptation. The program of socio-psychological adaptation using team sports was developed for two study groups. The study groups consisted of 30 people each. In addition, a reference group (RG) was formed, which included adolescents with both acquired and congenital visual deficiencies (28 people) diagnosed with the average and high levels of adaptation. However, this group did not participate in the program of socio-psychological adaptation using team sports, though attended training sessions in accordance with the FSES "Physical education" applied in schools for blind children.

The designed program of socio-psychological adaptation of adolescents with visual impairment in the group of peers implies the comprehensive use of the conditioning and preparatory exercises, lead-up exercises and action-oriented games, psychotechnical exercises.

Training sessions according to the designed program of socio-psychological adaptation of visually impaired adolescents using the means and methods of team sports were conducted for 8 months, twice a week, and lasted 60 minutes each. The lessons were held after school, in team sport sections (goalball, torball, futsal) and included the following means: conditioning and preparatory exercises; lead-up exercises oriented to master the structure of specific motor actions performed during the sport game - goalball; outdoor games and relay races; psychotechnical exercises (relaxation, self-regulation of the functional status, kinesthetic development of movements, autotraining).

Results and discussion. After the experiment we re-examined the study groups to determine the qualitative and quantitative changes occurred during this period. As a result, according to the diagnostic technique of socio-psychological adaptation (Rogers and Diamond) we observed a positive dynamics in the integrated indicators in two study groups expressed in the total growth (SG-1 by 52%, SG-2 by 55%, respectively), which testifies to the high degree of adaptation of adolescents with visual impairment, achieved by means of socio-psychological adaptation influenced by team sports. At the same time, the results obtained in the RG were less pronounced than those obtained in two study groups. Thus, the baseline indices of the RG increased by 37%, indicating that most of the subjects in this group still had the high degree of adaptation (p<0.05).

In the group of adolescents with acquired visual deficiency (SG-2), the highest increase was observed in such integrated indicators as “adaptation” (14%), “emotional comfort” (12%) and “self-acceptance” (12%). Moreover, in the group of adolescents with congenital visual deficiency (SG-1) the same indicators as in SG-2 predominated (15%, 11% and 8%, respectively). However, in the RG these indicators were low (8%, 7% and 6%, respectively), although, as well as in two study groups, they occupied the leading position.

In the study groups there were also remarkable changes in different WAM rates. Thus, for example, there were statistically significant differences in the indicators of well-being in visually impaired adolescents of the SG-2 t=2.5 (p<0.01), and mood: t=3.25 (p<0.01), at that, the indicators of well-being in adolescents of the SG-2 were higher than the mood indicators.

When comparing the indices obtained in two study groups, we found that it was the adolescents of the SG-2 who had the lowest indices of well-being (3.99±0.05), though, there were no statistical differences in this indicator between the study groups. In addition, well-being rates did not differ in the adolescents with visual impairment of the study and reference groups. The activity indicators were statistically significantly higher in adolescents of the RG rather than in adolescents of the SG-1 t=2.85 (p<0.01), while compared to the SG-2 no statistically significant differences were detected.

At the end of the experiment, the difference in the well-being rates in two study groups decreased, and in addition, the difference in the absolute indicator in the SG-2 was almost similar to the one of the SG-1. Besides, there were statistically significant differences between the SG-1 and RG-1 t=2.2 (p<0.05), as well as between the SG-2 and RG t=2.25 (p<0.05), which indicates a significant improvement of the subjective well-being of adolescents of the study groups, as a result of the implementation of the program of socio-psychological adaptation using team sports.

Finally, the upward trend in the statistically significant differences was observed when comparing the indices before and after the author’s program implementation, in the SG-1 in terms of activity t=3.13 (p<0.01), as well as in the SG-2 in terms of well-being t=2.5 (p<0.05) and mood t=3.25 (p<0.01).

Having analyzed the integrated indicators of the level of social frustration (LSF) in the study groups, some statistically significant differences were detected. For example, if at the beginning of the experiment in the SG-1 the indicator of the high level of satisfaction equaled 7.14%, by the end of one it was equal to 17.86%, i.e. the indicator increased by 10.72% (p<0.01), while in the RG this indicator equaled 3.57% at the beginning of the experiment and 7.14% by its end, i.e. it increased by 3.57%, which was statistically insignificant. Also, we detected the statistically significant differences in the indicator of the high level of satisfaction in the SG-2.

In addition, the complete dissatisfaction rates decreased in all study groups, but statistical significance was observed only in the SG-1. Thus, at the beginning of the experiment, 10.71% of adolescents of the SG-1 were in a state of complete dissatisfaction, whereas by the end of the experiment not a single adolescent was observed to have this integrated index (p<0.01).

Conclusion. The conducted study gives the right to further implement the pilot program in the boarding schools for blind and visually impaired children, comprehensive secondary schools attended by a large number of children and adolescents with visual impairment. It also confirms our hypothesis that purposely organized motor activities using the means and methods of team sports can facilitate and accelerate the process of adaptation of visually impaired adolescents to the ever-changing conditions of life, strengthens the socio-psychological climate in the team, and, of course, has a positive effect on future training activities.

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