Psychological factors after traumatic amputation in landmine survivors: the bridge between physical healing and full recovery

Disabil Rehabil. 2004;26(14-15):931-8. doi: 10.1080/09638280410001708968.


Purpose: Limb loss due to a landmine injury is sudden and devastating. The resulting disability makes life challenging in a world where physical ability is the 'norm'. In order to better understand the psychological adjustments individuals make in their recovery from a landmine injury, the Landmine Survivors Network conducted an exploratory qualitative study to determine factors that contribute to an individual's recovery. The study examined psychosocial aspects, coping strategies, and resilience characteristics of limb loss survivors across differing cultural, societal and economic backgrounds.

Method: Eighty-five participants (68 persons of limb loss, 10 family members, seven service providers) were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol in the USA and an open-ended format in six landmine affected countries. Data analysis was completed using grounded theory analytic strategies.

Results: Data indicated that the survivors' acceptance of limb loss and their state of psychological recovery were greatly influenced by the individual's resilience characteristics, social support, medical care, economic situation and societal attitudes toward people with disabilities.

Conclusion: Recovery from traumatic amputation in landmine survivors needs to be comprehensive and coordinated, and requires addressing the individual's physical, psychological, economic and social needs within the context of family, community, and the socio-cultural environment in which they live.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Amputation, Traumatic / psychology*
  • Amputation, Traumatic / rehabilitation*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Explosions*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sex Factors
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / diagnosis
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Survivors