Psychological distress and well-being in prosthetic users : the role of realism in below-knee prostheses

Sansoni, Stefania and Buis, Adrianus and Wodehouse, Andrew (2014) Psychological distress and well-being in prosthetic users : the role of realism in below-knee prostheses. In: 9th International Conference on Design and Emotion, 2014-10-08 - 2014-10-10.

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    Abstract

    The needs of below-knee amputees, in terms of the aesthetics of the prostheses, receive little or no attention. Failure to address this issue could create dissatisfaction with the body image of amputees. This paper seeks to explore different aspects of the psychological issues and well-being of users by focusing on the hypothesis that the level of realism in prostheses is linked to multiple factors, i.e. the time occurred since amputation and acceptance of limb loss. Specifically, we highlight the positive role of using artificial-looking devices for promoting the self-confidence of wearers during the second phase post-amputation, and the use of cosmetic devices in the first phase. The data derives from a closed ended questionnaire, email exchanges with users and an in-depth literature review. The paper constitutes a contribution to research on the “aesthetics of prosthetic devices” by taking into account the dynamics behind the psychological distress and well-being of prosthetic users.