Coping, affective distress, and psychosocial adjustment among people with traumatic upper limb amputations

J Psychosom Res. 2007 Jan;62(1):15-21. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2006.07.027.


Objective: This study investigated the prevalence of symptoms of depression and anxiety in a sample of predominantly elderly males with acquired upper limb amputations (n=138) and examined the contribution of coping strategies to the prediction of psychosocial adjustment.

Method: One hundred and thirty-eight men with injury-related upper limb amputations completed self-report questionnaires assessing coping strategies, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and psychosocial adaptation to prosthesis use.

Results: Prevalence of significant depressive symptoms was 28.3% [Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Depression subscale (HADS-D) score > or =8]. Prevalence of significant anxiety symptoms was 35.5% [HADS Anxiety subscale (HADS-A) score > or =8]. Coping styles emerged as important predictors of psychosocial adaptation. In particular, avoidance was strongly associated with psychological distress and poor adjustment.

Conclusions: These findings suggest the potential benefits of interventions to reduce reliance on avoidant coping and stimulate more problem-focused approaches to coping with difficulties and challenges in order to facilitate adaptation and prevent problems in psychosocial functioning postamputation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Amputation, Traumatic / psychology*
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / psychology*
  • Arm Injuries / psychology*
  • Artificial Limbs / psychology
  • Depression / diagnosis
  • Depression / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Social Adjustment*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Veterans / psychology*