One of society's most vulnerable groups? A systematically conducted literature review exploring the vulnerability of deafblind people

Simcock, Peter (2016) One of society's most vulnerable groups? A systematically conducted literature review exploring the vulnerability of deafblind people. Health & Social Care in the Community, 25 (3). pp. 813-839. ISSN 0966-0410

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Abstract The vulnerability of deafblind people is considered axiomatic; they are seen not only as a vulnerable group but also as one of the most vulnerable. This paper aims to synthesise existing knowledge to determine what is known about such vulnerability. A comprehensive literature search was undertaken between April 2013 and May 2014. The review method was informed by systematic review principles. An approach based on a ?hierarchy of evidence? would have reduced the amount of literature reviewed significantly, to the point where synthesis would not be possible. Included material was appraised and an interpretative rather than aggregative approach to synthesis adopted. Drawing on principles of critical interpretive synthesis, rather than being a determiner of whether material should be included or excluded, a critique of the literature is offered within the synthesis. Twenty?eight references were identified for inclusion, originating from the UK, USA, Australia, Continental Europe and the Nordic Countries. No empirical studies specifically examining the experience of vulnerability of deafblind people were found. However, deafblind people describe feelings of vulnerability in studies exploring their experiences more generally, and in personal accounts of living with the impairment. Literature produced by practitioners and specialist organisations also explores the topic. Deafblind people are identified as a population ?at risk? of various adverse outcomes, particularly when compared to the non?deafblind majority, and deafblind people describe being and feeling vulnerable in various situations. The literature largely relates to negative outcomes and includes significantly less exploration of positive risk taking, coping capacity and resilience. Deafblind people do not appear to describe themselves as being vulnerable as a permanent state, suggesting a need for greater exploration of the experience among all sections of this heterogeneous population, with consideration of the concepts of resilience and coping capacity.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
5 January 2016Published Online
18 November 2015Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: critical interpretive synthesis, deafblind, dual sensory impairment, vulnerability
Subjects: CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-01 - sociology, social policy and anthropology > CAH15-01-03 - social policy
CAH15 - social sciences > CAH15-04 - health and social care > CAH15-04-01 - social work
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Social Sciences > Dept. Criminology and Sociology
Depositing User: Peter Simcock
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2018 14:20
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2022 15:55

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