A self-regulatory perspective on presbyopia

1 February 2002
Volume 03, Issue 1

Health psychology theory suggests that recent onset presbyopes interpret their visual symptoms, cope with these symptoms and then appraise the effectiveness of their coping strategy.

Introduction 

Health psychology theory, specifically the self-regulatory model (Leventhal et al. 1997), suggests that recent onset presbyopes go through an iterative series of stages in which they interpret their visual symptoms, cope with these symptoms and also their cognitive and emotional correlates, and then appraise the effectiveness of their coping strategy. Coping can be either active, eg information seeking or visiting an optometrist, or avoidant, eg denying there is a problem or avoiding reading-based activities. Cognitive threats can arise from incorrectly attributing presbyopic symptoms to a disease process, or from the negative stereotypes that are widely held about ageing. Emotional threats include anxiety, frustration, anger and depression. The cycle of interpretation, coping and appraisal is repeated with the aim of reducing the cognitive and emotional threats and returning the individual to a state of psychological equilibrium. The optical professional can provide information at each of the three stages.

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