Romantic relationship and psychological wellbeing: the experiences of young individuals with visual impairment

Carmit Noa Shpigelman, Mara Vorobioff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: The sense of vision plays a dominant role in entering a romantic partnership. However, the romantic experiences of individuals with visual impairment have received scant research attention. The study aimed to describe the lived romantic experiences of young adults with visual impairment from various cultural backgrounds and to understand the implications of these experiences on their psychological wellbeing. Method: The study was conducted in the Israeli multicultural society. We conducted in-depth semi-structured interviews with 24 Jewish and Arab adults (aged 18-40 years) with visual impairment about their romantic experiences and the meanings they attribute to these experiences. We used an inductive thematic analysis. Results: Singlehood seemed to be a distressing situation for the Muslim female participants compared to the Jewish participants. Having a romantic partner contributed to the participants' self-acceptance and psychological well-being, especially for Muslim individuals. Conclusions: The findings demonstrate the intersection of lifelong disability, gender, and culture in the context of romantic relationships. The findings also highlight the need to support the romantic opportunities and experiences of young individuals with visual impairment, especially those from Arab society.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Young adults with visual impairment often face physical and social barriers in entering and maintaining a romantic relationship. Having a romantic partner contributes to the self-acceptance and psychological wellbeing of young adults with visual impairment. Rehabilitation practitioners should take into consideration personal and environmental factors, such as gender and cultural background, when providing support in a romantic and intimate relationship, for individuals with lifelong disabilities. Rehabilitation practitioners should also engage family members, especially from religious families, to support their relatives with visual impairment in developing a romantic relationship.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1228-1236
Number of pages9
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Disability
  • blindness
  • culture
  • romantic relationship
  • visual impairment
  • wellbeing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation


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