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People with sensory impairments may be at increased risk of depression and anxiety but experience barriers to accessing treatment.
To investigate whether people with sensory impairment have more depressive and anxiety symptoms than people without, whether this is mediated by social functioning and whether they report greater non-treatment.
We analysed data from the English 2014 Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey using regression models, with the Clinical Interview Schedule-Revised (CIS-R) score as the primary outcome and self-reported hearing and vision impairment as exposures. A secondary outcome was self-reported receipt of mental health diagnosis and treatment. We used structural equation modelling to assess for mediation by social functioning.
A total of 19.0% of people with hearing impairment, and 30.9% and 24.5% with distance and near visual impairments, respectively, had clinically significant psychological morbidity. Adjusted mean CIS-R score was 1.86 points higher in people with hearing impairment compared with those without (95% CI 1.30–2.42, P<0.001). People with distance and near vision impairment had mean CIS-R scores 3.61 (95% CI 2.58–4.63, P<0.001) and 2.74 (95% CI 2.12–3.37, P<0.001) points higher, respectively, than those without. Social functioning accounted for approximately 50% of these relationships between sensory impairment and psychological morbidity. We found no evidence of an increased treatment gap for people with sensory impairment.
Social functioning, a potentially modifiable target, may mediate an association between sensory impairment and depressive and anxiety symptoms.
This chapter discusses ethical principles and legal frameworks for protecting those who are vulnerable due to mental or cognitive illness that are generally comparable across countries. The specific laws discussed here are those for England and Wales.
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