11 February 2012

Amputee Self-Image - survey results

Summary of responses
  • 62% of amputees responding to this survey stated that their self-image continues to change, while 33% reported that their self-image has not changed since they became an amputee.
  • 23 members of Amputee Empowerment Partners responded to this survey. All respondents did not answer all questions.
  • 46% of respondents selected 'yes' they consider themselves disabled while 54% do not consider themselves disabled.
  • 87% of respondents are lower limb amputees, while 13% are upper limb amputees. Of the lower limb amputees, 62% are BK and 38% AK.
Comments From Respondents

Comments from respondents help to explain the difference in self-image revealed by this survey. In discussing whether or not they felt "disabled," some individuals expressed acceptance and contentment with comments similar to "I consider myself inconvenienced" and "I can do all things I put my mind to doing," expressing the belief that they were "no more [disabled] than anyone else in the world."

On the other hand, other respondents' comments indicated frustration and lack of self-confidence. "There is so much that I can't do that I did before," said one respondent, and "even though I do my best to return to normal, I am hindered by the actions of others," said another. More than one respondent mentioned a fear for his/her safety, either in the home or out in public.

Six people offered comments on the main question "Since you became an amputee, how has your self-image changed." One in six was despondent, while the other five offered hope. "My self-image changes are part of growing, not due to my limb loss," stated one respondent, and "I keep self-evaluating and adapting," said another. "I have changed for the better," said a third.

Time may play a factor in the experience of respondents and therefore their comments and survey responses. On average, survey participants had been living with limb loss for over seven years; the median years was only two years however, because three of the respondents had been amputees for 20 years or longer. 

Reviewing comments from all questions, an overall sense of the strength and adaptability of people with limb loss emerges. Even where there is doubt, there is hope:
  • "I do hope that one day I can look in the mirror and just accept who I am" 
  • "[sometimes] I wear shorts and don't give a rip what others think" 
  • "When the limb is healthy and the prosthesis fits, I am going strong because I feel confident"
  • "My self- image continues to build as I build competency in new and different skills."
  • "I believe I am beautiful within and out and just because I lost a leg does that mean you are going to love me any less, my light shines bright."
  • "Even with the loss of my legs I can still fly."

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