Amputation, phantom pain and subjective well-being: a qualitative study

Joline C Bosmans, Theo P B M Suurmeijer, Marieke Hulsink, Cees P. van der Schans, Jan H B Geertzen, Pieter Dijkstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the impact of an amputation and of phantom pain on the subjective well-being of amputees. Sixteen lower-limb amputees were interviewed. A semi-structured interview and two Visual Analogue Scales were used. To interpret the results, a new socio-medical model joining two models, 'The Disablement Process model' and the 'Social Production Function theory', was used. Questions were asked concerning the factors influencing patients' subjective well-being prior to, at the time of and after an amputation. These factors were patients' medical history, their phantom sensations and phantom pain, their daily activities, the social support they received, and the influence of an amputation and phantom pain on long-term behaviour and on their subjective well-being. All factors were found to have an influence on the individual's subjective well-being. All these factors, however, seemed to reinforce each other. Therefore, the greatest influence of factors on subjective well-being occurred when more than one factor was involved. Substituting certain activities by others then becomes less and less effective in inducing a sense of subjective well-being.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
JournalInternational Journal of Rehabilitation Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2007


  • activities of daily living
  • adults
  • amputees
  • models, psychological
  • phantom limb
  • quality of life
  • social support


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