Date of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Laura Holt

Second Advisor

Randolph Lee


According to Graham et al. (2008) in the United States, there are roughly 1.7 million people living with limb loss. Adams et al. (1999) estimated that one out of every 200 people in the United States alone has had an amputation. The loss of a limb is devastating and requires many life adjustments. Amputation can lead people to a loss of self-esteem, loss of one’s independence, and even unemployment. Few studies, however, have explored a) the extent to which depression is associated with other psychological factors such as body image and social support, b) if age at amputation is significantly associated with depression, and c) if depression in female amputees is more/less common than in male amputees. I anticipated that age at amputation would be positively associated with depression in this sample and that females would exhibit lower rates of depression and endorse higher rates of social support compared to males. Lastly, I expected that body image dissatisfaction would be positively correlated with depression and negatively correlated with self-esteem for both male and females.

To conduct this study, I recruited a sample of 35 lower limb amputees (57% male; Mage=23.56, SD=3.67) from three prosthetics and orthotics clinics at various locations in Connecticut. Patients completed a survey that assessed demographics, quality of life following an amputation, body image, and depression. Consistent with my hypothesis, the younger the participant was at the time of amputation, the more likely s/he was to be depressed. Consistent with previous research, males reported higher rates of depression than females. Contrary to my hypothesis, however, there was no relation between body image and depression. Lastly, depression was positively correlated with social support from friends but not from family, which I had not predicted. Findings from this study may help to inform protocols for medical and mental health personnel who work with lower limb amputee.


Senior thesis completed at Trinity College for the degree of Bachelor of Science in Psychology.