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Power and self-perceived health in blind diabetic and nondiabetic individuals


Janeth Leksell, Högskolan Dalarna, Health and Caring Sciences, S-791 88 Falun, Sweden. E-mail:


Power and self-perceived health in blind diabetic and nondiabetic individuals

Aims. The aims of this study were: (1) to explore perceptions of power in blind individuals and relate presence or absence of power to self-perceived health and (2) to compare self-perceived health in blind individuals with that of the general population.

Background. The theoretical framework of this study was Barrett’s Power theory, which is based on The Rogerian nursing theory. Power is defined as being aware of what one is choosing to do, feeling free to doing it, and do it intentionally.

Methods. Thirty-nine blind subjects at three adjacent ophthalmology centres agreed to participate in the study. Of those 23 had become blind because of late complications of diabetes. Power was explored during semi-structured interviews and self-perceived health was measured with the Swedish health-related quality of life questionnaire. Data on socio-economic, rehabilitative and diabetes-related variables were also collected.

Findings. Power was experienced by 19 of the 39 respondents and was more frequently found in nondiabetic subjects than in diabetic subjects. Those experiencing power reported a better emotional and general health compared with individuals lacking power. The perception of having power was not significantly related to any other of the studied variables. When compared with age- and gender-matched controls from the general population, nondiabetic blind subjects scored higher in positive feelings and lower in physical functioning. In contrast diabetic subjects experienced poorer general health, less satisfaction with physical health and more negative feelings, but they reported that they did not experience limitation as a result of these emotions.

Conclusion. One way of improving health in diabetic blind individuals could be to increase the subject’s perception of power.