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 Table of Contents  
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 14  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 70-77

Emotional intelligence among visually impaired and sighted female adolescents


Department of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt

Date of Submission07-Mar-2017
Date of Acceptance30-May-2017
Date of Web Publication12-Jan-2018

Correspondence Address:
Azza Medhat Mansy
Department of Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Faculty of Nursing, Cairo University, Cairo
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ENJ.ENJ_14_17

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  Abstract 

Background Emotional intelligence (EI) has a positive impact on adolescents’ personal as well as scholastic life. Thus, emotionally intelligent adolescents either visually impaired (VI) or sighted have higher levels of psychological adjustment and emotional well-being, and present a higher quality and greater quantity of interpersonal networks and social support.
Aim This study aimed to assess EI among VI and sighted female adolescents.
Subjects and methods and methods A purposive sample of 120 female adolescents (60 with VI and 60 sighted adolescents) was selected from El-Noor and El-Amal School for the Blind Female and El Saneya Prep/Secondary School. Two tools were used to measure the current study variables. A Structured Adolescents’ General Profile Questionnaire and EI Scale was used.
Results Findings revealed statistical significance differences between the studied VI and sighted female adolescents as regards the total EI and its subscales except for general mood
Conclusion To conclude, EI during adolescence is essential in the modern society as life is becoming very complex and conflicting day by day for both VI and sighted adolescents as EI guides an individual’s thoughts, actions, and in adjusting to stressful life events easily. There must be counselors to teach students the basics of EI and how they could develop positive self-concept and enhance their self-esteem.

Keywords: adolescents, blindness, emotional intelligence, female, sighted


How to cite this article:
Mansy AM, El Halim ZA, Al Wahab EA. Emotional intelligence among visually impaired and sighted female adolescents. Egypt Nurs J 2017;14:70-7

How to cite this URL:
Mansy AM, El Halim ZA, Al Wahab EA. Emotional intelligence among visually impaired and sighted female adolescents. Egypt Nurs J [serial online] 2017 [cited 2018 Nov 18];14:70-7. Available from: http://www.enj.eg.net/text.asp?2017/14/2/70/223091


  Introduction Top


Adolescence is a crucial developmental period characterized by marked physical, emotional, and intellectual changes, as well as changes in social roles, relationships, and expectations, all of which are important for the development of the individual and provide the foundation for functioning as an adult (Buckingham, 2008). It is the most vulnerable age for development, and the child entering in this stage requires intensive readjustment to school, social, and family life. However, many adolescents experience anxiety, unpleasant, or strange feelings (Nair and Anuradha, 2014). Adolescence represents a great source of anxiety for visually impaired (VI) adolescents as they face not only the usual developmental challenges but also the added strain of his or her physical handicap (Huurre and Aro, 2000).

Vision is a vital mean of obtaining information from the environment, and lack of sight can severely limit a person’s experience; thus, visual impairment is a distressing physical condition with profound social and emotional implications, the consequences of which affect not only the personage but also the family and the community. The loss of vision causes major changes in the lifestyle and habits of the blind person, which may result in problems in social and psychological adjustment. Visual impairment creates an obstruction, which consequently leads to dependency. VI people always expect others to lead and take decisions due to fear of being rejected. Moreover, they always have to show they are proficient, but their errors are ‘forgiven’ because they are special (Khurshid and Malik, 2011).

Lost opportunities associated with visual impairment lead to emotional stress and economic hardship. VI adolescents undergo psychological problems such as maladjustment, high social isolation due to physical defects, and limitations in communication with peer and adults compared with their peers with normal sights, in addition to low self-esteem, lack of independence, and lost educational and economic opportunities [United States Agency for International Development (USAID), 2007).

Adolescence is the age of emotional upheavals. The period of adolescence has been marked by emotional storm and stress. Their emotions are very intense. However, all-round development of an individual is not possible without control over emotions. When one has control over his/her emotions only then they can adjust themselves in the society and can contribute maximum to the development of the society. Therefore, during the period of adolescence the presence of emotional intelligence (EI) is very important as it enables the individual to monitor one’s own and others’ emotions (Katoch, 2013).

EI begins with the capacity to recognize one’s own and others’ emotions, and, with such heightened awareness, one then brings into play the abilities for managing emotions. It includes the abilities to accurately perceive emotions, to access and generate emotions in order to assist thoughts, to understand emotions and emotional knowledge, and to reflectively regulate emotions in order to promote emotional and intellectual growth (Mayer et al., 2004). Those who use EI to guide their thoughts and actions may find it easier to adjust to stressful life events. Therefore, these individuals may be expected to have increased self-control skills, empathic skills, self-awareness, to be more likely to engage in adaptive coping strategies, and in turn report reduced levels of psychological distress (Campbell and Ntobedzi, 2007).

EI has appositive impact on an adolescent’s personal as well as scholastic life. Thus, emotionally intelligent students have higher levels of psychological adjustment and emotional well-being, they present a higher quality and greater quantity of interpersonal networks and social support, are less likely to engage in disruptive actions, and have a strong determinant of aggression (Shahzad et al., 2013).

Psychiatric mental health nurses working with adolescents also need to develop and refine the skill of discreet observation of the young person’s mood and behavior, and their interactions with their peers, family, friends, and others. Observation of these factors, considered in the broader psychosocial context, will enable the nurse to achieve a comprehensive assessment of the factors contributing to the current difficulties experienced by the young person and their family (Faber and Mazlish, 2005).

Significance of the study

According to WHO (2012) estimation, there are 148 million cases of vision impairment worldwide, and 110 million cases of low vision that would be at risk of becoming blind. Approximately 90% of the world VI people live in developing countries. A survey of 113 people in three blind institutions in the north–east Nile delta was carried out by El-Gilany et al. (2002), and more than half of the cases were in the age range of 5–14 years. There were high proportions of both congenital and acquired conditions.

Blinding eye diseases remain a highly prevalent and serious health problem in many developing countries. Over 285 million people in the world are VI, of whom 39 million are blind and 246 million have moderate-to-severe visual impairment (WHO, 2011). It is predicted that without extra interventions, these numbers will rise to 75 million blind and 200 million VI by the year 2020 (WHO, 2012). The prevalence of low vision in all ages in Egypt is 3.1%, which is nearly equal to 2.3 million people. The prevalence of blindness is 1.1%, which is nearly equal to 737 000 blind people. Without proper intervention, the number of blind people in Egypt will increase to over one million by 2020 (Ramadan, 2011; Pokharel, 2010).

Least attention has been paid for developing and inculcating the EI among VI adolescents of schools and colleagues. Although some work in this field has been pursued abroad, persuasion of such study in this field in Egypt is the need of the hour. Therefore, an attempt was made to assess the level of EI as perceived by VI and sighted adolescents.

Findings of this study might help in improving the quality of the adolescents’ care, and establish evidence, based on which nursing practice and research can be promoted.

Aim

This study aimed to assess EI among VI and sighted female adolescents

Research question

What is the difference between sighted and VI adolescents in their EI?


  Subjects and methods Top


Research design

A descriptive comparative design was utilized to conduct this study.

Setting

The study was conducted at El-Noor and El-Amal School for the Blind Female, which follow El-Noor and El-Amal Association affiliated to the Ministry of Social Solidarity, which sited in Masr Algedida at Cairo governorate beside court the school follow the Ministry of Education and governmental preparatory and Secondary School (El Sanya Prep/Secondary School) at El Sayeda Zeinab, affiliated to the Ministry of Education.

Sample

A purposive sample of 120 female adolescents (60 with visual impairment and 60 sighted adolescents) were selected from the above-mentioned settings. VI female adolescents were selected according to the following criteria: age from 12 to 19 years, VI (total blind and low vision), and without additional disabilities or chronic illness. Sighted female adolescents were selected according to the following criteria: age from 12 to 19 years, without any vision problems, and free from chronic illness and disabilities.

Tools of data collection

Two tools were used to measure the current study variables.

Structured Adolescents’ General Profile Questionnaire

It was used to obtain the required data from the selected adolescents, such as age, year of education, type and onset of visual impairment, living condition, address, number of family members, his/her ranking in family, and parental education.

The Emotional Intelligence Scale (Bar-On and Parker, 2000)

The scale was developed by Bar-On and Parker (2000) and translated into Arabic by Sohail (2006). It consists of 58 items and is divided into six subscales: interpersonal, intrapersonal, stress management, adaptability, general mood, and positive impression.

Adolescents are asked to respond to the statements that best describe the way they feel, think, or act in most situations. The scores are rated by adolescents on a three-point rating Likert scale ranging from 0=no to 2=yes, 1=sometimes for positive statements; the negative statements are reversely scored 0=yes, 2=no, and 1=sometimes.

Validity and reliability

The tools were submitted to five experts of psychiatric nursing and medicine. Cronbach’s α coefficient was calculated to assess the reliability of the study tools through their internal consistency. Reliability of adjustment tool was 0.92, which is high. Reliability of EI tool was 0.96, which is high.

Procedure

A review of the past, current Arabic, and English-related literature covering various aspects of the problem was carried out, using available text books, articles, periodicals, journal, and internet to get acquainted with research problems and develop the study tools. The investigator used and followed the back translation procedure for verifying the translated scale used in this study.

In this procedure, the investigator translated the Arabic format into English language and rendered the same Arabic formats to bilingual experts for more verification of the translation of the English format.

The resulting Arabic tools were translated into Braille format, which was performed under supervision of the El-Noor and El-Amal School and revised by a specialized expert in the school. Study tools were tested for validity and reliability.

An official permission was granted upon a letter issued from the Faculty of Nursing to the central agency for public mobilization and statistics in the Ministry of Education. In the ministry of education, the letter is issued to the directorate of El-Noor and El-Aml School for Blind and El Sanya Prep/Secondary School to conduct the study.

All VI and sighted adolescents WHO fit the criteria for inclusion were approached. At that time, the purpose and the nature of the study were explained to them to obtain their acceptance and co-operation; confidentiality and anonymity were assured, and finally invited for participation. Semistructured interview was used with each participant to fulfill the study.

Oral and written consent was obtained from each participant before data collection. Data were collected over a period 4 months from the beginning of 1 February 2016 to 1 June 2016. The average time needed to complete the tools ranged from 40 to 50 min depending on the degree of understanding and response of the participants. The questionnaires were read, explained to the studied participants, and the responses were recorded by the investigator for eliminating the systematic errors and for more validation of adolescents information.


  Results Top


Part I included sociodemographic characteristics of the studied VI and sighted female adolescents.

[Table 1] reveals that the studied sample consists of 120 female adolescents (60 blind and 60 sighted). Their mean ages were 15.1±2.1 and 15±1.6 years, respectively. Among the studied VI female adolescents, 43.3% were at preparatory education and 56.7% were in secondary education compared with 48.3 and 51.7% of the studied sighted female adolescents, respectively.
Table 1 Age and education of the studied visually impaired and sighted female adolescent

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As regards father’s education, [Table 2] shows that 20% of the studied VI female adolescents’ fathers could read and write, 45% had received secondary education, and 33.3% had received university education compared with 28.3, 25, and 40% for the studied sighted female adolescents’ fathers, respectively. This table also reveals that 38.8% of the studied VI female adolescents’ fathers were employed, 11.7% worked in private sector, 41.7% were freelancers, and 8.3% were day laborers compared with 65, 5, 20, and 10% of the studied sighted female adolescents’ fathers, respectively.
Table 2 Father’s education and occupation of the studied visually impaired and sighted female adolescents

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[Table 3] reveals that 3.3% of mothers of the VI female adolescents were illiterate, 26.7% could read and write, 51.7% had secondary level education, and 18.3% had university level education compared with 6.7, 36.7, 40, and 16.7% of the studied sighted female adolescents’ mothers, respectively.
Table 3 Mother’s education of the studied visually impaired and sighted female adolescents

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[Table 4] reveals that 48.3% of the studied VI female adolescents reported that they are interested in playing music, compared with 5% of the studied sighted female adolescents. However, 22% of the studied sighted female adolescents prefer reading compared with 13.3% of the studied VI female adolescents. Moreover, this table reveals that 21.7% of the studied VI female adolescents have no hobbies compared with 30.0% of the studied sighted female adolescents.
Table 4 Hobbies and interests among the studied visually impaired and sighted female adolescents

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As regards the nature and onset of vision loss, [Table 5]) reveals that 81.7% have complete and 18.3% have partial vision loss, respectively, as reported by the studied VI female adolescents. Among the studied VI female adolescents, 78.3% had vision loss at puberty and 21.7% had acquired vision loss. Moreover, 85% of the studied VI female adolescents had no family history of blindness.
Table 5 Nature and onset of vision loss among the studied visually impaired female adolescents

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As regards differences between the studied VI and sighted female adolescents with respect to total EI and its subscales, [Table 6] reveals that statistically significant differences were found between the studied VI and sighted female adolescents as regards total EI and its subscales except for general mood.
Table 6 Differences between the studied visually impaired and sighted female adolescents as regards total emotional intelligence and its subscales

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  Discussion Top


Blindness is a devastating physical condition with deep emotional and economic implications. Blindness causes major changes in the lifestyle and habits of blind female adolescents, which may result in problems in physical, psychological, and social adjustment. It has a serious effect on the adolescents, family, and community (McConachie and Moore, 2011).

Therefore, this study aimed to assess EI and adjustment among VI and sighted female adolescents in El-Noor and El-Amal School for Blind Girls and El Sanya Prep/Secondary School at El Sayeda Zeinab, affiliated to the Ministry of Education.

The results of the present study will answer the following research questions:

What is the difference between sighted and VI adolescents as regards their EI?

Therefore, the discussion will be presented in the following sequence:
  1. Sociodemographic characteristics of the studied VI and sighted female adolescents.
  2. Difference between VI and sighted female adolescents as regards EI.


Sociodemographic characteristics of the studied visually impaired and sighted female adolescents

As regards the sociodemographic characteristics of the studied VI and sighted female adolescents, the results indicate that the mean scores of their age were similar for both groups. They were in preparatory and secondary education. These results are based on inclusion criteria.

As regards fathers education of the studied VI and sighted female adolescents, results of the current study revealed that more than half of the studied fathers and mothers were highly and secondary educated for both visually and sighted female adolescents. Parents’ educations help in meeting the needs of adolescents who are VI and sighted. This result stresses the importance of parents being partners in education of their adolescents. They should actively support and enrich educational process, which may have an impact on adjustment and EI.

As regards father’s occupation, this study reveals that 38, 11, 41, and 8% of the studied VI female adolescents’ fathers were employee, worked in private sector, were freelancers, and day laborers compared with 60, 5, 20, and 10% of the studied sighted female adolescents’ fathers, respectively. This result mean that the range of employee among the fathers of the sighted female adolescents while the range of freelancers and private sectors. This result may indicate that father’s job may determine the student’s economic level, which may have impact on their adjustment, especially family adjustment, as low economic state may cause additional burden on parents, which may affect their parenting and physical, emotional, academic, and social caring for their children.

Similarly, a study by Mohanty and Devi (2010) revealed that good education and occupation of parents positively and significantly affects the interpersonal relationship (a component of EI) of the adolescents. Moreover, Backhaus (2009) revealed that students with low socioeconomic backgrounds were less well adjusted both socially and academically, compared with their peers from higher socioeconomic backgrounds. In agreement with this study, Walpole (2003) noted that students from low socioeconomic backgrounds were less likely to be involved in nonclassroom activities (e.g. school sponsored clubs/groups, athletics), and were less likely to live on campus (King, 2005).

According to Elia (2015) and Trusty (2000), students from low socioeconomic status experience many barriers to higher education, including college choice, parental financial assistance, and realistic future plans. According to the US Department of Education (2003), students from low socioeconomic status are confronted with environmental deficiencies, which result in low self-esteem, and this impinges negatively on their academic performance.

Conversely, studies conducted by Gowdhaman and Murugan (2009) and Jacques (2009) showed that socioeconomic status or monthly income does not have any significant effect on EI among college students. Moreover, a research by Parween, (2015) for determining factors affecting EI among adolescents and indicated that there was no significant difference in the sample’s EI scores with reference to the type of school attended, parental education, and family income. This indicates that these factors did not influence the EI of VI students pursuing higher education.

As regards hobbies of the studied VI and sighted female adolescents, the current study also revealed that about half of the studied VI female adolescents were practicing music, which is ten times higher than the studied sighted female adolescents. This result may be attributed to the fact that they are practicing music as there is an institute for music which follows El-Noor and El-Amal Association for Blind Female population, and the association provides all needed facilities for those female participants for this hobby and other hobbies. Moreover, the school maintains practicing hobbies as this is considered as a way of rehabilitation for those female adolescents.

Moreover, this study revealed that the percent of students who prefer reading was triple in the sighted other than the VI female adolescents. This could be due to the availability of books and media for reading for sighted other than blind female adolescents. There are books available through hearing but not all of them have these facilities. Moreover, this hobby is not followed by school such as music hobby.

In contrast, Lifshitz et al. (2007) indicated that the sighted adolescents scored significantly higher on spending leisure time together and on confrontation and betrayal than did those who were VI and were unable to use nonverbal communication, which makes it difficult for them to acquire social skills.

The current result reveals that, among the studied VI female adolescents, about a fifth of them live in the organization and leave for home at the end of each week, which may have an impact on their adjustment and EI. Staying away from home in an organization without parental support may make the blind female independent, strong, and adapt to stressors, or it may cause emotional deprivation, low self-esteem, loneliness, and in its role on adjustment.

A research by Parween (2015) was conducted for determining factors affecting EI among adolescents and indicated that mean scores of EI do not differ significantly between residential and nonresidential groups, which in turn reveals that living conditions did not have an influence on the EI of the selected sample.

The current study results reveal that about four-fifths of the VI female group were completely blind at birth and did not have any blind family member. This result could be due to hereditary and developmental disorders in children, which are the major causes of visual impairment. Among the various causative factors responsible for visual impairment, infections, injuries, accidents, carelessness, and neglect are also responsible for such impairment. Moreover, this result may be attributed to the fact that the presence of a blind family member may have an impact on the blind student adjustment and also has an additional burden on family and may have an impact on the way of dealing of their families with this blind member and the rate of stress that result from the presence of a member with special needs between them. In addition, the onset and type of vision loss has an impact on the student’s adjustment.

A research by Parween (2015) was conducted for determining factors affecting EI among adolescents, and it indicated that mean scores do not differ significantly between students with total blindness and low vision; VI students who have acquired blindness had more EI compared with those who were born blind.

VI adolescents experience the world in their own ways, which is different from others who are sighted; they must cope with special difficulties in getting about. Their personality was affected by these differences and can be assumed that because of their handicaps they are more likely to be under nervous strain and have to harbor feeling of insecurity and frustration (Arshad and Lodhi, 2015).

Difference between visually impaired and sighted female adolescents as regards their emotional intelligence

EI is a type of social intelligence that involves monitoring, discriminating between, and using emotions to guide thinking and actions. EI is related to interpersonal and communication skills. VI adolescents face various problems in social relations compared with their peers with no impairment; they spend more time alone with themselves and have difficulty in getting close relationship and socializing with their peers (Pfeiffer and Pinquart, 2011). Thus, visual impairment may have an impact on EI.

As regards differences between the studied VI and sighted female adolescents as regards total EI and its subscales, this study revealed that statistically significant differences were found between the studied VI and sighted female adolescents as regards EI total and its subscales; the studied VI scored higher than the studied sighted female adolescents except for adaptability subscale, in which the studied sighted female adolescents scored higher than the studied sighted female adolescents, which means that visual impairment has no impact on EI.

This result may be attributed to the fact that, when adolescents do not get proper support from environment, some of their qualities become depressed and individual functioning becomes disturbed. This attitude not only disturbs blind but also sighted adolescents. Thus, proper support must be given according to age demands despite blindness to become a healthy part of society. Moreover, the studied VI always received instruction frequently for empowering self-esteem, creating positive attitudes toward the disability by receiving accurate information on the impairment, helping individuals to perceive themselves as having control over their actions, helping individuals to accept their disability, and helping individuals to increase their self-efficacy. This was not performed for sighted students.

In addition, a research by Nair and Anuradha (2014) indicated that visually disabled adolescents have some type of assistance of magnifiers as many people with low vision are helped immensely by use of larger lettering, and elevated contrast coloring. There are also many coping strategies for public with more break impairment including the use of Braille and large raised lettering. In schools they record their information in tab and they save it in their personal computers and later use it for studying.

Similarly, Lifshitz et al. (2007) stated that mothers and teachers are taught to empower individuals with visual impairments and provide experiences of success. The empowerment activities aim to reinforce the self-concept and self-esteem of students with visual impairments and encourage them to value themselves without reference to their disability. Similar self-concept profiles were found for the groups.

The study results were in agreement with Arshad and Lodhi (2015), who found that there were no statistically significant differences in EI between blind adolescents and there sighted counterpart, which indicate that visual impairment has no impact on EI.

Conversely, a study conducted by Kumar and Singh (2013) found that VI and sighted school student differ significantly on their EI. Further, sighted students are emotionally more intelligent compared with VI students. Similarly, a study conducted by Rajput, (2013) revealed that able-bodied students were better than their peers with disability (hearing impaired, VI, and orthopedically handicapped) in terms of self-confidence and EI. It implies that disability adversely affects EI and self-confidence.

In addition, a result of Raimule and Bhawalkar (2015) revealed that the VI and sighted school student differs significantly on their EI. Further, sighted students were emotionally more intelligent compared with VI students. A study conducted by Salimi et al. (2016) revealed that sighted students scored higher than the blind counterparts as regards emotional regulation.


  Conclusion Top


This study clearly concludes that EI guides an individual’s thoughts, actions, and helps in adjusting to stressful life events easily. Therefore, emotionally intelligent individuals may be expected to have increased self-control skills, empathic skills, self-awareness, to be more likely to engage in adaptive coping strategies, and in turn report reduced levels of psychological distress.

Recommendation

  1. Students should be assessed for their psychological, mental, and physical health, their problems, needs, and capabilities, any obstacles for learning and EI.
  2. Educational programs should be conducted for fostering protective factors, such as effective problem-solving skills, good coping abilities, and realistic expectations and demands, which will enhance the self-worth and resilience of adolescents either abled or disabled.
  3. Educational programs should be conducted for parents and teachers about adolescence challenges and problems and how to deal with their adolescents during this period and to overcome stress associated with this period of caring.


Future research

  1. Future studies are needed on large numbers of adolescent students sighted and VI of both sexes.
  2. The present study has been conducted on a small sample; therefore, additional research is needed for a better understanding of adolescence as a very important period in individual development.


Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.





 
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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6]



 

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  In this article
Abstract
Introduction
Subjects and methods
Results
Discussion
Conclusion
References
Article Tables

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