Dating and forming intimate relationships is an integral part of human social development. Many studies have shown that the communication and support provided by intimate relationships are beneficial for our physical and psychological well-being. However, when one or both partners in a relationship are faced with a serious, progressive health condition such as Retinitis Pigmentosa, it can place a strain on both their relationship and their psychological well-being. In fact, research has shown that vision loss caused by conditions such as Retinitis Pigmentosa, Glaucoma, Diabetic Retinopathy and Macular Degeneration – to mention a few, increase not only the patient’s risk for depression but also their partner’s, and place the couple at an increased risk for divorce.
While we know that vision loss can have a negative impact on the lives of couples, some questions we have yet to answer are: What kinds of support are most effective for helping both partners overcome the vision loss-related challenges? What coping styles are most helpful and does it matter if the condition is congenital or acquired?
These are just some of the questions that my research team and I hope to answer with our new, international study of couples’ experiences of sensory loss (Project ISSSL). Project ISSSL is run by Dr. Jesper Dammeyer and I at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen Denmark in collaboration with Dr. Walter Wittich at the School of Optometry, University of Montréal, Canada. The project was launched on Monday July 11th and will continue to be open for registration until September 5th 2016.
Who can sign up?
We are looking to recruit couples (married or unmarried) wherein one or both partners have sensory loss. Couples must be 18 years or older, be able to read English and have access to the internet. If you would like to contribute to research on couples’ experiences of sensory loss, you can sign up here:
What do I get for taking part?
In recognition of your contribution to Project ISSSL, every couple who signs up and completes the survey will receive a free booklet on sensory loss and relationships. In this booklet will be a description of the main findings from this study so that we can share our knowledge with you. We will also hold a raffle for a $150 voucher. Each person who completes the survey will be entered into the raffle.
Thank you very much for your support. If you have any questions or would like more information, you can contact the researchers at: [email protected], connect with us on,
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectISSSL/ , or
Visit our webpage: International Study of Support and Sensory Loss – Project ISSSL
She is a PhD Fellow in health psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. Her work involves the investigation of couples’ relational and psychological adjustment to vision and/or hearing loss.