The effects of a visual disability on marital relationships

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This qualitative study examines the major changes in relationship closeness of married couples when one spouse acquires a vision disability. Turning Points analysis and Retrospective Interview Technique (RIT) were utilized

This qualitative study examines the major changes in relationship closeness of married couples when one spouse acquires a vision disability. Turning Points analysis and Retrospective Interview Technique (RIT) were utilized which required participants to plot their relational journey on a graph after the onset of the disability. A sample of 32 participants generating 100 unique turning points and 32 RIT graphs lent in-depth insight into the less explored area of the impact of a visual disability on marital relationships. A constant comparison method employed for the analysis of these turning points revealed six major categories, which include Change in Relational Dynamics, Realization of the Disability, Regaining Normality in Life, Resilience, Reactions to Assistance, and Dealing with the Disability. These turning points differ in terms of their positive or negative impact on the relational closeness between partners. In addition, the 32 individual RIT graphs were also analyzed and were grouped into four categories based on visual similarity, which include Erratic Relational Restoration, Erratic Relational Increase, Consistent Closeness and Gradual Relational Increase. Results provide theoretical contributions to disability and marriage literature. Implications for the application of turning points to the study of post-disability marital relationships are also discussed, and research directions identified.