Understanding Adjustment and Coping to Limb Loss and Absence through Phenomenologies of Prosthesis Use

  • Craig D. Murray


“Adjustment” and “coping” are two interrelated psychologically based concepts which have been applied and explored extensively in research on chronic illness and disability. These areas are often explored using structured, quantitative research methods, where coping and adapting are seen as final adaptive steps or stages made in response to ill health or disability. These concepts and methodological frameworks have similarly been used to explore amputation, congenital limb deficiency or absence and prosthesis use. However, more recently researchers have begun to use phenomenologically based qualitative methods to explore the meanings and experience of illness and disability from the vantage point of those concerned, so that what it is to cope or adapt, and how this is negotiated, is informed by the perspectives of those having the relevant experience rather than through the application of priori theoretical frameworks. Within this chapter, I summarise the findings of a large-scale project, which aimed to explore the meanings and experience of prosthesis use for both people with acquired amputation and congenital limb absence or deformity. The key theme domains to be identified in this work are the embodied experience, personal and social meanings of prosthesis use. This work highlights the subtle and complex ways in which such persons manage, negotiate and experience their identity in everyday life, and therefore how they adapt to and cope with their changing circumstances. The outcomes of this work have a number of implications for health professionals working with this client group which are discussed.


Personal Meaning Social Meaning Phantom Limb Limb Loss Residual Limb 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Health and MedicineLancaster UniversityLancasterUK

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