Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Psychology (Ph.D.)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Dr. Raymond DiGiuseppe

Second Advisor

Dr. Mark Terjesen

Third Advisor

Dr. Angela Mouzakitis

Abstract

Deafblind individuals with progressive visual conditions are presented with the challenge of adjusting to the gradual loss of sight over time and the social, psychological, environmental, and communicative implications relative to that process. Mental health treatment for these individuals is not widely researched due to the lack of homogeneity in the deafblind population; therefore, exploratory studies are necessary. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) is an evidence-based treatment that has successfully addressed a range of symptoms in many psychological and medical diagnoses but has not been researched with individuals who are deafblind. In this multiple baseline design study, the researcher delivered a six-week REBT intervention to investigate its effect on symptoms of emotional distress, rational/irrational beliefs, and acceptance and adjustment towards vision loss. The study occurred during a global pandemic (COVID-19) and was therefore conducted via telehealth. The intervention resulted in improvement for two out of the three participants, with little improvement observed in the one participant likely due to confounding variables outside of the study’s control. Additionally, results were maintained one month after the intervention was completed. These findings contribute to the research on REBT and support the need for more research using REBT with individuals who are deafblind.

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