An exploratory evaluation of psychological factors in the rejection of upper limb prostheses : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Psychology at Massey University
This study investigated the reactions of arm amputees to their prostheses and explored possible reasons for these reactions. A questionnaire was constructed to determine the use to which the recipients put their prostheses. A preliminary validation study was conducted to determine the final form of the questionnaire. Rather than selecting a sample of prosthesis recipients, a census of the recipient population was attempted with 48.57 per cent responding. Respondents were asked questions measuring their use of the prosthesis, the nature of their prosthesis, the rehabilitation services they had used, and various demographic variables including age, sex, occupation and so on. It was found that up to 55.9% of the respondents could be classified as low-users of their prosthesis. A regression analysis showed that 44 per cent of the variance in the use of the prosthesis was due to the two variables of prosthesis type and prosthesis length. No other variables explained significant amounts of the variance. A lower-user and a high-user were selected to pilot a further study examining psychological factors that may affect prosthesis use. The areas examined were those of training, perceptions of independence and stigma, and perceptions of the prosthesis. A number of modifications were made to the original questions as a result of the pilot study. The results of the pilot study indicated that the areas of training and expectations of the prosthesis' capabilities prior to receiving it would be most likely to prove useful in explaining different levels of prosthesis use. Some issues relating to possible future research, interventions, and the rehabilitation process were also discussed.