Body Image, Perceived Social Stigma, and the Prediction of Psychosocial Adjustment to Leg Amputation


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Abstract

The hypothesis that body image and perceived social stigma would be important predictors of psychosocial adjustment to a leg amputation was tested in a sample of 112 clients from five prosthetic offices. Two scales were developed to measure body image disturbance resulting from an amputation and perceived social stigma (the individual's perception that others hold negative attitudes about him or her due to the amputation). The two scales were internally consistent and only moderately correlated (r = .43). The CES-D depression scale, a quality-of-life scale, and prosthetist ratings were used to measure psychosocial adjustment. Regression analyses indicated that body image was a significant independent predictor of all three adjustment measures after controlling for the effects of age at the time of amputation, time since amputation, site of the amputation, self-rated health, and perceived social support. Perceived social stigma made a significant independent contribution to depression but did not qualify as an independent predictor for the other two measures of adjustment. Based on an established CES-D cutoff score, the overall rate of depression was 28%. Theoretical and clinical implications of these findings are discussed.

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