Mental Health Status and Related Factors Among Visually Impaired Athletes

Yasuko Kohda, Takafumi Monma, Maki Yamane, Toshihito Mitsui, Kayoko Ando, Subrina Jesmin, Fumi Takeda


Background: A growing body of pieces of evidence suggests that sport activity is of potential importance both for physical and mental health. To date, there is a lack of information and evidence regarding the mental health of visually impaired people playing some extent of sports and recognized as athletes with renowned career track. The present study aims to clarify the mental health status and its related factors in visually impaired athletes.

Methods: The current study was a questionnaire-based cross-sectional investigation. Visually impaired athletes (n = 81; men: 72.8%; average age: 32.8 ± 12.0 years) engaged in Paralympic sports events namely track and field (marathon), goalball, swimming, blind soccer, and judo were the study subjects from leading institutions in Japan. A diverse range of issues were included in a questionnaire survey like attributes, condition of visual impairment, competition activities, competition stressors, social support, and mental health status (recorded through the K6 scale). Logistic regression analyses were performed with mental health status as a dependent variable and other studied parameters as independent variables.

Results: A total of 21.0% of study participants (11.9% of men and 45.5% of women) showed bad mental health condition. Results of multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that “female” (odds ratio (OR) 11.94, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.60 - 54.76, P = 0.001), “higher evaluation from one’s surroundings for competition stressors” (OR 5.74, 95% CI 1.34 - 24.60, P = 0.019), and “lower social support from family members” (OR 3.97, 95% CI 1.03 - 15.25, P = 0.045) were the risk factors of bad mental health.

Conclusions: The mental health status among visually impaired athletes might be almost the same level as non-visually impaired athletes and general population, and have relation to gender, stress of evaluation from surroundings during competition, and social support from family members. It may be necessary to pay attention especially to women, and improve one’s surroundings of competition stressors and family social support to maintaining the mental health of visually impaired athletes.

J Clin Med Res. 2019;11(11):729-739


Mental health; Visual impairment; Athletes; Logistic regression analysis

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